The Maarouf Saad Social & Cultural Foundation was founded in Saida in 1980, to provide educational, health, and social services to under-privileged communities. MSSCF is running 3 primary health care centers, one community based center, and a Popular Rescue Unit (INKAZ). This includes health care, community awareness and social assistance programs, as well as children summer activities. A total of 30,000 beneficiaries benefit annually from its services.
The organization networks with national, regional and international organizations, both official and non-governmental, to meet its objectives and the needs of its target population. A total of 15 fixed job employees and 4 part-time job employees are at MSSCF.
After 39 years of working on ground with marginalized communities, MSSCF has achieved great impact in changing people's lives to better living conditions on physical, behavioral, and psychological levels.
MSSCF runs three healthcare units and one community outreach center, MSSCF produces social development programmes in partnership with the local players, encouraging their participation through initiatives tailored to their needs. This includes healthcare, community awareness and social assistance programmes, as well as children’s summer activities.
The foundation also provides training to social workers in mental health and education fields.
On the Mental Health Program and Rehabilitation levels:
The MH program in MSSCF is a preventive program (1999-2018); it tackles the “social integration and rehabilitation of children with mental health problems by tackling their needs as individual, familial, and communal perspectives”.
Children with learning difficulties and behavioral problems need the early intervention programs in MH, both preventive and curative when necessary. The work of MSSCF through the community outreach center is an attempt to deal with the resulting mental health problems being faced by children and youth in displaced, refugee and local communities of Saida. MSSCF implements a holistic approach in MH that contributes in providing well-being preventive and a friendly environment. These problems when not identified early, will lead to early drop-outs, behavioral problems and learning difficulties.
The children come from an aggressive, violent, marginalized, unsuitable for living conditions environment due to above mentioned conditions.
The Mental Health program is a window of hope to children for having a supportive assistance by enhancing the well- being of more than 350 girls and boys and creating spaces of creativity, and equal opportunities of living respectful.
As for Hayat program: The need for such a pioneer program came from many factors:
1-Absence of psycho-social centers for pregnant women in Saida old city
2-High percentage of early marriages among the girls in the designated area for the project (young girls marry in the age of 13/14/15 and 16 years old).
3-High percentage of visits by pregnant women to MSSCF clinics, (about 35 women per month)
4-High percentage (70%) of cesarean operations in governmental and UNRWA supervised hospitals.
The program is a need as it is raising awareness about reproductive health and the consequences of early marriages, C-section operations, and birth control.
On the Primary health care Level:
MSSCF provides primary health care services for the local and displaced communities at its three primary Health Centers. With the project MSSCF will be providing the services at Natasha Saad Popular Clinic in the old city of saida. MSSCF will be in charge of covering consultations, medications, vaccinations, laboratory tests, ultrasound, and dental care for around 1000 patients per year. As MSSCF has worked over than four years in a humanitarian project with the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and has served more than 20,000 patients, this project will provide primary health care services to hardship cases from displaced and local communities.
In the targeted area MSSCF is the only organization with primary health care services since 1985, as another NGO has closed its clinics two years ago, and UNRWA has no clinics in the old city.
The Syrian Crisis
MSSCF added to its mission the work to alleviate the living conditions of Syrian refugees, in addition to its projects with Palestinian refugees.
Its medical teams visit gatherings and camps of refugees to offer free diabetes and blood pressure tests, and provide affordable medicine when needed. Refugees with chronic diseases can get free monthly medication.
The emergency project with the Royal Norwegian embassy had a great impact on local and refugees' communities. It started in April 2013 and and ended in April 2016. By March 2015, it had assisted a total of 9,000 patients with 20,000 services provided on the primary health care services level. The direct number of beneficiaries reached 1,500 families, both Syrian and Palestinians from Syria. The services included consultations, lab tests, ultrasound, drugs /medication, and medical glasses.
Also MSSCF provides the following activities to refugees and the local communities in Saida city:
1-Psycho-motor sessions with women: on weekly basis for around 80 women. Women acquire new skills in dealing with the children in remarkable methods and exercises, and new methods in healthy nutrition. Also individual counseling takes place after the sessions.
2-Psychological collective therapy sessions for children: Children attend collective therapy sessions with the counselor on different topics such as positive communication, anger management, danger of jumping into conclusions, think before action, Problem Solving skills, and mindfulness, tackle anxiety and worry, Bullying, Conflict Resolution. All the sessions are conducted in creative methods and techniques that attract children and gives them motive to talk and interact. Individual sessions with children are conducted after the collective sessions.
3-Adult Education (Classes for women and drop-outs): An Average of 10 women and 35 youth are benefitting from the classes on weekly basis.
4-Academic support for Public and UNRWA children in the afternoon: The academic support is for children from local Palestinian and Lebanese communities of the old city and the neighborhood. An annual estimate reaches 70 to 100 children on annual basis. The targeted children are chosen after the visit of the social workers to schools in the neighborhood, children with learning difficulties and slow learning capacities.
5- Awareness raising workshops about women rights, domestic violence, discrimination, self-confidence, gender based violence, protection & Abuse, communication &active listening, Girls' education, early marriages, conducted on monthly basis for around 80 young girls.
6-Recreational/ Educational Activities: Mada Center receives children from the local community and refugee from Syria residing in Saida. The average attendance of the children reached 50 to 70 children per day (it reaches 500 children per year).
7-Summer Day Camp: MSSCF organizes recreational activities for 150 children from 6-12 years old.
8- Women Empowerment project: Weekly knitting/Crochet workshops for around 40 women and little girls, and home economy for women of the psycho-motor sessions.
3000 patients (40% Lebanese, 35% Syrians,25% Palestinians) received medical consultation and medication of hardship cases in the old city of Saida, project supported by NORWAC since 2017.
370 pregnant women have received awareness information about sexual and reproductive health within Hayat program in the old city since 2015.