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Back to building business after the Beirut blast

Lena in Lebanon’s story of rebuilding her business with help from Tearfund after the Beirut blast damaged her home.

Written by Tarryn Pegna | 24 Nov 2023

Lena, pictured wearing a headscarf and dress, shows some of the jars of products she prepares and sells to make a living.

Lena’s house in Mar Mikhael, which she also used as a base for her small business, was damaged by the Beirut blast in 2020. Tearfund has helped her to get her business going again. Credit: Tearfund partner

On 4 August 2020, a large blast hit the city of Beirut, killing more than 200 people and injuring close to 3,000. Buildings as far as 12 miles away were damaged and 300,000 homes were destroyed or damaged. In the space of a few moments, hundreds of thousands of lives and the whole landscape of the city were changed drastically. Many people lost their shops and businesses. All of this came on top of an economic crisis that was already ravaging the country.

Lena’s* story

Lena is a married mother of three children. She and her family live in Mar Mikhael – a lively, densely-populated neighbourhood very close to the port. Because of its proximity to the storage building at the centre of the explosion, it was one of the areas that bore the brunt of the blast. Sadly, many of the residents in the area have struggled to afford repairs to their homes.

Lena’s family was one of those whose homes were badly damaged. This was a double blow for Lena, who used her home as a base for her small business making and selling homemade goods such as pickles, makdous (cured eggplants), olives, za’atar (a fragrant mix of herbs and spices), dried yoghurt and all sorts of jams. She also used to prepare home-cooked meals for some of her customers.

When the blast hit, it destroyed her business. Her home was no longer a safe environment to work in and almost nothing was left of her supplies. What made the situation even more desperate for Lena’s family is that her husband has cancer and isn’t able to work to help support the family.

Fortunately, Lena received some help through Tearfund’s local partner organisation. Working together with local churches, they provided her with the supplies she needed to restart her business once her house had been repaired and they also helped her access some new customers.

Lena says she is grateful for what [Tearfund’s local partner] has done as now she has a wider clientele.

*Name has been changed to protect identity.

Pray for Lebanon

    • Heavenly Father, we pray for the businesses supported by Tearfund’s partner to be successful despite all the challenges. We pray that the owners will be able to provide for their families, especially as many of them are caring for family members suffering from serious illnesses or disabilities.
    • We thank you for the work of Tearfund’s staff and partners in Lebanon. We pray for your blessing and protection over the local churches reaching out with the love and compassion of Christ to those families in greatest need.
    • God of Comfort, we cry out for the people left struggling to afford food and basic necessities, especially as winter approaches, and we ask for your protection and comfort for those displaced by the recent escalation in conflict along Lebanon’s border with Israel. We pray for healing, restoration and reconciliation in a country deeply wounded by multiple crises and traumas. Loving God, we pray for Lebanon’s peace and stability.
    • God of Hope, we pray for the raising up of wise leaders who will govern justly and with integrity, supporting Lebanon and its people to flourish. Amen.

Written by

Written by  Tarryn Pegna

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