In 1957, the First Lady of Lebanon Mrs. Zalfa Camille Chamoun, assisted by Dr. Philip Thomas founded the Lebanese School for the Blind. The goal of the society was to establish a modern institute to educate blind children in such a way as to prepare them for effective participation in the daily life of their community as independent and contributing members. To this end, the Lebanese government offered a parcel of land in Baabda. Many Lebanese in Lebanon and abroad contributed generously towards the construction of the school building in Baabda, which was inaugurated in January 1957. Dr. Philip Thomas was then elected President of the Board of Trustees and held this post until his death in 1983. He was succeeded by Dr. Iskandar Hitti until 1987, the date of his passing. Dr. Joseph Ashkar then became President until 1989. Mr. Gabriel Thomas took over and remained until 2000, and was succeeded by Maître Pedro Ghannam, a lawyer by profession until his passing 2009. The Lebanese School for the Blind and Deaf belongs to the Society of The Blind and Deaf, which is a private organization subsidized by the Ministry of Social Affairs, registered under decree no. 1109 Current Board Members President / Mrs. Laure M. Dumit Vice-President / Mrs. Jeanette Chamoun Treasurer / Mr. Nadim B. Saikaly Secretary / Maître Charbel P. Ghannam Members / Mrs. Salma Kanaan, Mrs. Noha Ingea, Mrs.Hanifeh Salam, Mr. Emil Issa School Principal Mrs. Wadad Lahoud On the occasion of our 50th anniversary, our family, including members of our Board of Trustees, former students, staff and employees, all cooperated together to record the highlights of the past five decades. Our success is a tribute firstly to our Donors, and secondly to the wonderful spirit of cooperation of each family member. Throughout the decades, many blind children from various backgrounds but mainly from needy families came to us. We offered them warmth and shelter, helped them accept and adjust to their particular disabilities and taught them to become skillful in many areas in order to help them find suitable employment. Today, hundreds of these students are employed in suitable jobs, are self-supporting and are leading dignified lives among their peers. We invite you to view our work and to realize the value of your contributions. We also hope that in the years to come, we will inspire and generate even more interest and involvement in our students and school. We are extremely grateful to our donors who have given us their tremendous support throughout the difficult years. Those donors continue to help us, allowing further development through the aid of modern technology which in turn enhances our progress and enables us to expand our Reach-out Programs. The academic program The school program from pre-school to the baccalaureate level corresponds to that of regular schools and is supplemented by special subjects to assist the students in their personal adjustment to their loss of vision. The standard subjects in the academic program are as follows: • Mathematics • Language Arts • Sciences • Social Studies The curriculum-plus subjects are: • Braille reading and writing (by touch) • Regular typing • Mobility by means of the white cane The curriculum prepares the students for the Baccalaureate examination and possible college entrance. Blind students: mainstreamed Visually disabled students can be integrated in regular, public and private schools at all levels primary, intermediate, secondary and University, side by side with their sighted peers. Mainstreamed students commute daily from Baabda to their different regular schools and return in the afternoon where they are coached in difficult subjects, such as mathematics and sciences. Our itinerant teacher follows up their progress and is at all times ready for any problem that may arise. Special demonstration objects such as diagrams, maps, as well as computers, laptops and magnifiers are provided for them by the school. A very large number of our graduates have entered Universities and many are pursuing suitable jobs in both public and private sectors and have become self-supporting. A very large number of our graduates have entered Universities and many are pursuing careers in both public and private sectors and have become self-supporting. Our school offers a comprehensive rehabilitation program which provides functional training in a variety of areas.Each student’s program is individualized and his length of stay flexible. Vocational training occurs both in school and on the job. Upon the successful completion of the training course, assistance is given in finding jobs. Follow-up services have shown that when trained, blind people can become capable, efficient and reliable workers. Our Rehabilitation Center offers services to adults who are : • Blind • Partially sighted • Deaf • Hard of hearing Available Services •• Adjustment to disabilities •• • Psychomotor assistance • Psychological counseling • Regular typing • Mobility techniques •• Workshop training •• • Weaving • Knitting • Caning and basketry • Bamboo work • Carpentry •• Switchboard operation •• •• Computer training •• • On the job training in certain areas •• List of positions held by our blind students : X-Ray Developers in Hospitals • CSSR: Sterilizers of Operating Room Equipment in Hospitals • Switchboard Operators Translators and Interpreters • Teachers and Professors • Computer programmers • Journalists • Musicians • Piano tuners • Masseurs • Physiotherapists Poultry raisers • Factory workers (sorting and packaging) • Machine Weavers • Caners and basket makers music Music is a very important subject in our program. It offers the blind a world of beauty which can be a source of income and enjoyment throughout their lives. Individual instruction is offered in: • Violin • Organ • Accordeon • Flute • Clarinet • Piano • Saxophone • Drums etc… As well as: • Arts and crafts • Drama and acting • Home economics – cooking – personal care • Physical education • Mobility instruction • Cultural picnics • Clubs... A special class has been formed for children who have more than one disability mainly those who are: Blind with moderate retardation • Deaf with moderate retardation • Deaf-blind children Students are encouraged to join the choir and the orchestra, where they learn to perform both classical and oriental music. sports Sport is a very important activity for the blind. It gives them confidence while keeping them fit. Our school sports include: Regular physical exercises plus • Goal ball • Running • Other sport games Our outreach program provides services on many aspects of disability. It involves home visits in order to help families with disabled children overcome their problems, as much as possible within their own community and through the use of local resources. We work closely with the Ministry of Education in trying to promote change of attitudes towards disabled children inside public schools through talks and demonstrations to students and teachers. Early intervention Our early intervention services involve support of families who have disabled babies and who need advice and home assistance in dealing with their children in order to help them grow in a warm normal atmosphere and be able later to move smoothly into the schooling stage. Our alumni Our Alumni are a great source of pride. A very large number of our alumni hold today suitable, rewarding jobs and enjoy normal lives. They share amongt each other a touching spirit of brotherhood, characterized by love and loyalty to their school. Their ties are long-lasting.