2019 Global Compact Network Lebanon SDG Pioneer – Marc Torbey-Helou
Ever since going through a diving accident, Marc has been in a wheelchair. In 2018, he was unable to attend an event related to the SDGs held at the Grand Serail due to the size of his wheelchair, which was larger than a standard one. Through this experience, he has become an advocate of the rights of persons with disabilities. He urged the Cabinet Secretary-General to make the Grand Serail accessible to people with special needs. “Being able to overcome my accident, I wanted all people with special needs to surmount the challenges they face in their daily lives,” said Marc.
As part of his effort to push the agenda of bringing better access to people with special needs, Marc has contributed to the implementation of article number 85 of law 220, which stipulates that shipping an accessible modified car to Lebanon is free from custom fees for its owner. After a four-month procedure with continuous follow-ups, the law has finally reinforced and became available for all the disabled Lebanese citizens.
Also, his role at Banque Libano-Française is just more than being a Senior Banker. Marc has consulted the bank on how to create better accessibility and accommodation for people with disabilities, as well as which NGOs to support to achieve the goal of reducing inequalities.
For his upcoming project, Marc will be working on “Accessible Badaro” to advance the goal of reducing inequalities for persons with disabilities. He has already collaborated with more than 120 restaurants and pubs, and will be meeting with the Minister of Social Affairs of Lebanon to explain the draft business plan. He will also engage BLF employees with this project as volunteers and aims to replicate this project to the rest of municipalities in Lebanon.
In addition to the Goal 10 on Reduced Inequalities, Marc has also been advocating three other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including Goal 1 on No Poverty, Goal 3 on Good Health & Well-being, and Goal 4 on Quality Education.
In efforts to combat poverty, Marc joined Offre Joie, a nongovernmental humanitarian organization, and has served as a volunteer leader for 15 years. He has encouraged over 1,600 youth from all faiths across Lebanon to help the poor and disadvantaged, and contributed to improving the quality of life of over 20,000 citizens in Jabal Mehsen and Beb al Tebbaneh neighborhoods (the country’s poorest areas). Also, he helped provide football courts and playgrounds, rehabilitating seven out of 19 prisons in Lebanon (Batroun, Amyoun, Jbeil, Tyr, Tebnin, Aley and Barbar Al Khazen) and enhanced the conditions of prisoners.
To improve quality education, Marc has worked in the social field with Offre Joie that included his participation in youth summer camps to sensitize over 5,000 young people on civil society issues including public health, social work, as well as promoting of citizenship to reinforce civil peace. In addition, he contributed to the renovation of public schools- improving the lives of many students across Lebanon. Moreover, he led BLF to sponsor Offre Joie and run in the Beirut Marathon to support it along with other associations.
To promote good health and well-being, Marc has been participating in Donner Sang Compter (DSC), a non-profit organization that raises awareness on the importance of donating blood. He has inspired over 10,000 people, including BLF employees, in donating blood since 2009. DSC has organized more than 756 blood drives and collected more than 25,000 blood units, which were donated to 31 hospitals across Lebanon. The organization also conducted more than 1,000 awareness sessions.
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