The Institute for Development, Research, Advocacy and Applied Care (IDRAAC) has announced that it will implement the “Elderly Empowerment Project” in different regions in Lebanon. This project, which provides a database of work, volunteer or leisure activities for older persons, was launched in 2016 in partnership with the Municipality of Byblos, and won the Arab Thought Foundation Award for “Social Creativity” a few days ago which was an additional incentive for IDRAAC to implement the project in other regions. The project was selected from 130 nominated projects in this category and the award was received by the project director, Dr. George Elie Karam, during a ceremony held by the Foundation in Dubai in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation and Chairman of the National Olympic Committee and Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Chairman of the Arab Thought Foundation, Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation and Prince Turki Al Faisal, Chairman of the Board of King Faisal Centre for Islamic Research and Studies as well as Ex-Prime Minister Fouad Al Seniora, Minister Melhem Riachi and Minister Jean Ogassapian.
In a speech at the ceremony, Dr. Karam stated that “one out of five people over the age of 60 is at risk of developing a mental illness.” Studies conducted by IDRAAC since 1980 showed that “social disability increases the risk of developing mental disorders for up to six times.”
He explained that “the first experience for this project was in the city of Byblos, where IDRAAC contacted the institutions of the region to check the availability of work and volunteering opportunities or leisure activities that may be provided to the elderly.” “We then created a database of work, volunteer and leisure activities that older people can do to reduce the burden of retirement,” he said. “The project was welcomed with a lot of enthusiasm from older people and their relatives”. Institutions interested in supporting this project can check IDRAAC’s website: idraac.org