Launching a Digital Platform for Parents and Planting the Seeds of Hope CLES Celebrates 20 Years of Free and Unconditional Work to Counter Specific Learning Disabilities

Kefraya (East Lebanon) October 10th, 2019

More than 120 attendees, team and board members of the Lebanese Center for Special Education (CLES), as well as specialists in education and learning disabilities visiting from Belgium, and members of NDI (National Dance Institute of New York) celebrated on Saturday, October 5th, 2019, twenty years of hope, generosity and success, between Kefraya and Ammiq (Beqaa).

The seed of CLES has gradually sprouted and budded, and today, thousands of children, teenagers and young people are bearing its fruit. It has given hope to many people who have suffered from specific learning disorders, as well as their families, all over Lebanon.

The Seed of Hope

It is from this perspective that the administration of CLES, presided by its Founder, Mrs. Carmen Chahine Debbane, wanted the celebration to be inspired by the hard work that started off as a seed, and grew with love and diligence to finally encompass the whole country. Thus, the noblest and oldest job in the world was selected to represent it: agriculture and plantation in Kefraya (Bekaa).

As a result, twenty locations were chosen to plant pine seeds on the occasion of twenty years of free and unconditional work at CLES, just as the land generously produces its fruits, and with the collaboration of the American University of Beirut (AUB), as part of the “Seeds of Hope” initiative.

Understand your Child

During the ceremony, a digital platform “Understanding Your Child” was launched in collaboration with the “Lebanese Alternative Learning” organization. This interactive platform allows parents of children with specific learning disabilities to have their questions answered. It aims at assessing parents’ level of comprehension of their child’s case, helping them understand it better, and explaining its details, the ways to diagnose it, live with it and ask for help when needed. The platform includes the following disabilities: dyslexia, dysphasia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, ADHD, memory deficits, and dysorthographia.

The activity beamed with joy, optimism and pride, and recongized defeating difficult years of working in an unknown field, where a large number of children required diagnosis, while parents had no credible source to turn to. The festivities stretched from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., stopping in Kefraya at 11 am to sow the seeds of hope, then visiting the Ammiq region, and indulging in its nature and scenery, followed by a joyous country lunch, before heading back to Beirut.

Mrs. Debbane said: “Twenty years ago, we at CLES committed to embracing learning disabilities, and to being at the service of children and their parents, in order to progress in education and learning towards a better future. With a solid will, we have truly succeeded to conquer obstacles and pressures to free children from learning disabilities.”

By founding the Lebanese Center for Special Education (CLES) in Lebanon twenty years ago, Carmen Chahine Debbane was determined to tackle learning disorders, at a time when little attention and awareness were dedicated to these disorders, hence hindering the future of children with learning disorders. The hard work that a number of strong-minded professionals invested into the Center has greatly contributed to the change of this reality.

Specific Learning Disabilities Day

On the National Day of Specific Learning Disabilities (DYS), CLES organized a general educational meeting at the Ministry of Education on October 10th, 2019, bringing together specialists and experts in the field. Similarly, the eight CLES centers across Lebanon, celebrated the day with families benefiting from their services, and the entire CLES team.


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