This post was written by guest blogger Hani Raad, Cisco General Manager of Iraq and Levant
With a harsh winter hitting Lebanon and the urge from Cisco’s Lebanon-based employees to take action in support of the Syrian refugee crisis, the idea of a “Syrian Refugees Fund” was born. Over the last three months, Cisco employees have raised funds to provide packages of clothing for over 170 children in the country, serving as global problem solvers for those in need of clothing, medicine and support.
In 2006, Cisco created the Partnership for Lebanon, bringing together public and private organizations to create jobs, improve connectivity, and spur growth in the country. Today, the country is faced with a new crisis — over 3.6 million refugees have escaped Syria to the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, while more than a million refugees crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe in 2015.
More than 1.4 million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon in the past five years, with children making up half of all those entering the country. Those totals represent one third of Lebanon’s total population, creating a major need for support from those who can help. And Cisco, through its Corporate Social Responsibility, has the power to make a difference.
Giving is part of our DNA at Cisco. Last year, Cisco employees gave a combined $12 million in donations and matching funds, as well as more than 155,000 hours of volunteer time to nonprofits and causes of their choice around the world.
I was amazed by the generosity and passion of Cisco’s volunteer employees on the ground in Lebanon. The money raised went towards the purchase of high quality jogging suits, sweatshirts and warm socks. The team in Beirut sorted and labeled the packages in pride and excitement as we saw the impact of our efforts firsthand.
“Once we entered the camp on that icy day and began handing out the packages of clothing, we saw smiles appear on the faces of the children,” said Karim Kattouf, one of the volunteers on the ground in Beirut. “They didn’t care that the clothes were not a perfect fit, or that the colors of the socks were not the best.”
Today, Lebanon is the country with the highest per capita concentration of refugees worldwide. The arrival of Syrian refugee has had a massive impact on Lebanon’s economy and infrastructure. Our contribution will not stop here, and further campaigns with our partners and customers will help speed the pace of social change for thousands in Lebanon.
Learn more about Global Problem Solvers at csr.cisco.com/gps