Ghaïda Nawam is the co-founder of Nusaned, a Lebanese NGO that was founded barely a year ago and that has grown rapidly.
Today Nusaned is part of a local NGOs consortium covering several Lebanese regions. It is also the partner of CARE International on Beirut reconstruction and basic assistance projects.
“Since I was little my mother took me with her to take part in charitable activities. And two years ago, I thought about taking a year off to go abroad with friends to volunteer and help those in need. And then there was in Lebanon the uprising of October 17, 2019 and I told myself that I am now capable of changing things for the better in my own country,” she explains. “It was this October uprising that gave me hope for change by realizing that there are leaders my age who have not served the country. I said to myself, we have a possibility now to take responsibility because we are better than these leaders” says this elegant woman who is in her forties.
This mother of three children aged between 23 and 17, married to a man also involved in community projects, is above all a careerist.
“I have been working since my college days. After graduating, I worked in marketing for several companies. In 2006, I was in a management position of a multinational company and I was in charge of 11 countries in the region. My father was ill and my son was six months old. I traveled a lot; I made the decision to quit to take care of my family,” she says.
“I lasted four months at home,” she laughs.
Very quickly Ghaïda Nawam sets up her own company between Hong Kong and Beirut and specialized in corporate gifts. It was a success.
In December 2019, she decides to come to the support of less privileged and begins to help in one of the poorest regions of Lebanon; Tripoli, the poorest city in the country, and Akkar, the least developed district.
“I had never seen so much poverty and I started to raise funds by launching appeals for donations on my own Facebook page,” she says. She then created WhatsApp groups and set up a home sanitation project. At first, she managed with her dedicated and like-minded team to raise $500,000, which she used to rehabilitate100 homes, some of which had no kitchen or bathroom.
She registered the NGO shortly before the Beirut Blast in August 2020. With the disaster, Nusaned shifted all their energy to start the rehabilitation works done in Akkar to Beirut and began to restore damaged houses. Other projects quickly followed.
She has never been indifferent to pain and misery. “In Lebanon, very quickly, we are faced with injustice. I remember the first devaluation of the Lebanese Lira in the eighties. I remember that I wanted to buy something and my father told me that we cannot afford it. At first I didn’t understand and his answer shocked me. Today, I put myself in the shoes of all the people who can no longer afford to buy things for their children,” she said. “Empathy and Sensitivity are not weaknesses, it helps us see things differently and show solidarity,” she adds.