As part of the ongoing relief efforts for Beirut, Mr. Paul Mouawad, Lecturer at the Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) Ramez G. Chagoury Faculty of Architecture, Arts & Design (FAAD), launched the BeBeirut initiative: a means for Architects to provide pro bono services in supervision, project management, and damage assessment to assist the most vulnerable and affected victims in fixing the damage to their homes.
Mr. Mouawad’s initiative has since been joined by three more NDU instructors at the FAAD, Kristine Samra, Layla Jabbour, and Hala Rizkallah, along with over 40 NDU alumni and current architecture students.
NDU students have responded to the initative with enthusiasm:
“The whole initiative started with Mr. Paul Mouawad calling me, and what started as two volunteers grew now to 40,” said NDU graduate and Technical Coordinator at BeBeirut, Josée Seif. “NDU instructors joined our team as well, a big thanks to Kristine Samra, Layla Jabbour and Hala Rizkallah!”
“Together we divide the task and double the success for a better tomorrow, this is architecture,” said Sari Talhouk BeBeirut Team Coordinator and NDU graduate from the Shouf Campus.
“We’re volunteering to help, but most importantly to make a difference,” said NDU student and BeBeirut Field Coordinator Perla Takchi.
BeBeirut has partnered with Beb W’ Shebbek, one of the leading NGOs that currently has hundreds of volunteers helping the most affected victims in building their residences, with the aim to assess and fix 3000 homes. BeBeirut architects are also assisting Open Map Lebanon (Beirut Relief) in building a relief map denoting all the organizations and associations on the ground.
“BeBeirut’s architects’ roles are pivotal,” said Mr. Mouawad. “They’re on the ground listening to the victims, selecting contractors, developing detailed BOQs (Bill of Quantities), supervising and managing the reconstruction work from the start till the end using the tools from their education at NDU.”
BeBeirut’s architects have already assessed and visited over 50 homes till now with plans to finish their reconstruction in weeks from now before the winter season. “The goal is to continue rebuilding as many homes as we can that were damaged by this blast”, said Mr. Mouawad. “This initiative aims to remain and grow further with one major constant objective: assist the most vulnerable in our community by providing suitable homes and living conditions. I personally hope this will become a design studio further engaging our department in community outreach.”
Volunteers wishing to join the initiative are invited to follow BeBeirut’s Instagram page and contact them there.