LebMASH, a Lebanese NGO that works to further sexual education, has turned to crowdfunding to ensure a continued funding stream for its "Breaking the Silence" grants that reward students who are contributing to increased awareness of physical and mental health issues related to sexual minorities and sexual health in general.
"Growing up in Lebanon, we did not receive sexual education in school, and university education did not add much in that field. Even in medical school, the topic appeared to be as much of a taboo to be studied as it is a taboo to be discussed in a positive way in the society. Going through residency training, we were not allowed to give educational seminars about the health of sexual minorities," LebMASH said on its Zoomaal crowdfunding page .
"Lebanon has come a long way since then, but there still is much needed. Research on sexual health is not popular and when executed, it is poorly funded."
The BTS grants offer one student each year the opportunity to attend an international conference in the field. The 2015 winner, Ahmad Abu Mohammad, will attend GLMA’s 33rd annual conference in Portland, Oregon, later this month. Abu Mohammad won the grant for a submission titled “The need for mental health research within the LGBT community in Lebanon.”
LebMASH has provided the grants for the last three years, through funding provided by the group's board, but is seeking outside funding to ensure the program continues.
"This year LebMASH's funds have been stretched thin especially with embarking on new projects like the workshop on sexual and LGBT health offered to LeMSIC medical students in Broummanna in March 2015," it said. "To ensure the sustainability of BTS student grants we are turning to you because regular granting organizations do not seem to be interested in funding such activity and we do not want to modify our projects to fit their agendas."
LebMASH is seeking $5,000, which it says it enough to fully fund the program until 2018.