Mashrou' Leila will be giving a special performance at a gala dinner in New York celebrating the 20th anniversary of a major Lebanese-American NGO.
Social & Economic Action for Lebanon (SEAL), which was founded by a group of prominent Lebanese-Americans in 1997, will host the event at Capitale in downtown Manhattan on Sep. 28.
In addition to a performance by the internationally renowned Lebanese indie band, gala attendees will enjoy "a three-course feast ... [and] the opportunity to come together with over 300 members of the Lebanese community and friends of Lebanon in the USA ... [as well as] plenty of festive surprises to mark our 20th birthday," SEAL Executive Director Victoria Lupton told StepFeed.
SEAL has been a significant force to enhance Lebanon's social and economic development, focusing specifically on water and irrigation, women in the workforce, and land and agriculture.
Lupton explained that the organization's projects have taken place all across Lebanon. In 2017 alone, the organization has supported 12 projects impacting nearly 3,000 families.
"They’ve included two projects to support women’s cooperatives in making handmade mouneh in Jezzine (South) and Mejdel el Koura (North), and two projects supporting women to enter the workforce through the launch of soap factories in Gharifee (Mount Lebanon) and Al Souweni (Nabatiyeh)," Lupton said.
"We’ve built a hangar in Maghdouche (South), a village famous for its orchards of Bou Sfeir oranges, which will be a center for the cooperative there to sell their beautiful orange blossom water," she said.
"We’ve laid down over 7,000 meters of irrigation pipes in villages in the Bekaa and North, which will allow farmers to cultivate over 20 square kilometers of land that was previously dry. And we’ve supported the purchase of a truck for sorting waste in Sarafand, South Lebanon, to help a small non-profit there in addressing the garbage crisis through a recycling business."
The organization also has 10 more projects in the pipeline.
Lupton said these include "launching innovative factories to turn apples into dried chips (providing a new market for struggling apple farmers), and to produce serums for cosmetics from fruits; an initiative to train 100 beekeepers across the Chouf; and the purchase of six vehicles - refrigerated trucks, pickups and tractors - to support farmers in accessing new markets."
SEAL aims to give back to Lebanon, a country that the organization's leaders and supporters feel has given them so much.
"For many members of the Lebanese diaspora, it’s about never forgetting where they came from and staying connected to communities back home. And it’s about ensuring dignity to those living in Lebanon," Lupton said.
Despite political difficulties facing their home country, Lupton explained that SEAL and its supporters remain hopeful for positive change moving forward.
"We maintain hope that individuals can transform Lebanon with their initiative, imagination and hard work. And we will continue to work together to support Lebanon’s future."