Celebrate Best Buddies Lebanon
Best Buddies Lebanon was founded in 2008 with much anticipation and excitement. The first chapters were launched in October 2008 and participation has been growing steadily. Pascale A. Khalil, Founder and Executive Director of Best Buddies Lebanon, shares about her experience raising her son and bringing Best Buddies to Lebanon.
My dreams never included having a child with a disability. When my son, Charbel was born with a disability, my husband and I were not prepared. I can still remember the long, difficult nights I spent searching for help on the internet. My son, my family, needed support and there was none. I cried myself to sleep many nights. I quickly realized that society had many misconceptions about disabilities. Children with disabilities were hidden. People were afraid of my son and would actually move their own child away from him. The harsh reality set in that only because of his disability, my son could not play outdoors, have friends, and experience life in the same way as others do.
In our research, we did find more options for him outside of Lebanon. However, we are a very close family and could not imagine leaving some family behind. Instead, we decided to stay in Lebanon and committed ourselves to changing our community by creating a more inclusive society for Charbel, one that would embrace and accept him.
I began to search for organizations that could assist with this great undertaking and I found Best Buddies International. Best Buddies’ simple mission of creating a more inclusive society through friendship, moved me. It was the answer I was looking for.
My son is now 10 and my hope is that by the time he enters middle school, Best Buddies will be flourishing in Lebanon and as a result my community will give my son, that I adore, a chance to be included.