Americus, Ga. – Nov. 9, 2001 -- The Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon was officially approved by Habitat for Humanity International's Board of Directors to its global house-building network during the organization's fall meeting in Americus, Ga.
"Expanding to new horizons, like Lebanon, allows Habitat for Humanity to reach out and work with people in need worldwide to eliminate substandard housing," said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International.
Civil war devastated Lebanon in the 1970s and '80s, with invading armies and various factions taking thousands of lives and destroying homes, apartment buildings and offices throughout the country. Rebuilding has left Lebanon heavily in debt and its economy in ruins. Unemployment is high and available jobs pay very low wages.
Father Salim Ghazal is chairman of Habitat for Humanity in Lebanon. He is Bishop of the Melkite Catholic Church and, as a regional statesman, is recognized for his humanitarian and social work. "With Habitat's arrival, many communities are overjoyed with the opportunity to rebuild their simple village homes," Father Ghazal said. "The energetic voluntary sector that gave medical relief during the war is now focusing on education and reconstruction programs."
Zahi Azar is Habitat's national coordinator in Lebanon and brings with him 15 years of experience in education. "Habitat for Humanity in Lebanon needs support from financial sponsors and volunteer laborers to build safe, simple, decent and affordable homes with people in need of adequate shelter," Azar said.
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary year, Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 2,000 communities in 79 nations have built and sold more than 100,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.