Lebanon, Middle East

LEB02 - TFF - Mothers and Babies Ministry : Partnership Reports

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Report Date: February 28, 2023

Report from BHW Middle East Partnership Facilitator Following Visit

Recent Events


A maximum of 25 mothers meet with Izdihar and her team each month. They receive milk, baby clothes for the coming winter, and a bag of apples. A total of 120 babies from refugee families are being helped. The real need is US$1,000 per baby but they are not able to meet that need.

With the financial crisis in the country, many things are more difficult to obtain. Milk powder is one of those items that is much more expensive now. (In the past a quantity of milk powder cost $8 (or 1200 Lebanese pounds) and provided for many families, now the same quantity costs 48,000 LL, and lasts two weeks and for a smaller number.  

Situation in Lebanon

As with other partnerships in Lebanon, the financial situation has made covering the financial needs of the ministry more difficult, especially when faced with the unavailability of things that may be needed for the refugee ministry. For example, Izdihar mentioned that funds that may have helped with a baby’s needs for a year now covers just 4 months. Or put another way, a sum of $7,500 that would have helped 80+ mothers, is now meeting some of the needs of 40 to 50 mums.

Given the unravelling of the economy, the stress level in people’s lives has increased hugely. Most Syrian refugees are unable to find continuous work, if at all, and so there is a desperation in family life to get enough money to buy basics. This translates into scenarios like the following: in some poor families where there is a teenage daughter, the father wants to sell her off for about $200; if the girl is prettier, he may try to get $1000 for her.  TFF seeks to work with the father, giving him $5 (I guess regularly) to get him to let his daughter come and learn to sew. At the end of the course, she gets a sewing machine and can start a small business to earn some money. 


For Izdihar on a personal level, at the time that I visited she was recovering from surgery for a tumour in the womb and was scheduled for a colonoscopy on the last day I was there. She and her husband Riad still graciously welcomed me to stay.


Personal Stories


Sihan is a 32-year-old woman with six children and in her seventh pregnancy. She helps with breadmaking for the daily lunches. Normally a mum working at the Centre would not be allowed to bring her baby, but she has suffered terrible abuse at the hand of her husband. On one occasion he closed the tent with her in it and set fire to it. She managed to escape. Her opportunity to work at the Centre, and also to benefit from the weekly help on Tuesdays as a mother with a child under 1, makes a huge difference in her life.   


Fadia is another young woman who is very involved in TFF activities. I’m not sure of her marital status or whether she has a child, but I was impressed when I saw her leading in various contexts – enthusiastically leading the children’s singing, helping practically by making juice from a large supply of apples and organizing to have it frozen. She is involved with the teaching team and has a leadership role in that.


Houida is a young lady who is a teacher, apparently very capable, and seems a bright person. She also has some responsibility in the team that sees to the needs of mothers and babies that come once a month. She has been married for 5 years and has been unable to become pregnant.  TFF has enabled her to have surgery, which hopefully will help her to conceive.   


Plans for the Future

I did not ask about the timeframes for developing the property in relation to activities outside of the focus on mothers, babies and little children. Regarding this, which is BHW’s key focus, everything seems already to be functioning smoothly. I had conversations with a number of the women in the team and they all seem very joyful in their work.  Some are volunteers, but others receive some regular payment for their work. 


Current Issues and Challenges

Apart from the general situation in Lebanon currently, their main challenges relate to the development of the Family Oasis at the 4-hectare property that was officially opened at the beginning of October. There is much of the property yet to be developed but the functioning of all the various ministries is, to me, very impressive. They are a great team, now led very capably by Izdihar’s son-in-law. Due to her recent surgery, Izdihar was not present at TFF Centre on any of the three days I was in Zahle. 


Prayer and Praise Points

1) Praise for encouraging medical results for Izdihar and pray for complete healing
2) Praise for her son-in-law Emil’s work as Head of Operations
3) Pray for God’s grace on Izdihar to enable her to continue to lead this ministry in the self-sacrificing way she does.
4) Pray for a turnaround in terms of availability of basics for the mothers and babies (e.g. milk, diapers, etc)
5) This multi-faceted ministry touches a large number of people in a deeply transforming way, evoking praise to God. 



Since my last visit it is great seeing the developments at the new property. There is so much going on there and much more envisaged for the future. There is such a sense of God’s favour on this ministry. Izdihar was recovering from surgery during my stay and so was not at the Centre any of the days I was there but she and Riad graciously and kindly had me stay in their home. It was a pleasure to spend time with their son-in-law, Emil, who is Head of Operations at TFF now.

At the time of my visit (late October 2022) the existing funding from BHW was only covering 1/one third of what it once did prior to the further economic deterioration in the country. Given the unravelling of the economy, I think that there is probably a need to rethink our support levels to all our Lebanese partners.