WATERTOWN – The aftermath of the terrible Beirut explosion of August 4 will affect Lebanon for a long time to come. The unnecessary loss of life is a cause for mourning throughout the world. The treatment of the wounded and the efforts to rebuild destroyed homes, institutions and much of the heart of the city will require international help. The Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada (TCA) joins in the mourning and is ready to play a part in the work of reconstruction.
Every Armenian organization has an obligation to help the Armenian community of Beirut, which has played such a significant leadership role in the Armenian diaspora. The Tekeyan Cultural Association’s ties to Lebanon run deep.
The situation of the Beirut Armenians had significantly deteriorated over the past few years due to the Lebanese economic crisis. The novel coronavirus was one more cruel blow. The Tekeyan School of Beirut serves primarily the low-income Armenian community of Bourj Hammoud. The school, along with the community it serves, was facing great financial difficulties, and TCA agreed earlier this year to increase its assistance. Aside from sending money from its own resources, it initiated a fundraising campaign.
Now, on top of the existing difficulties, the school building suffered extensive damage, as did the Tekeyan Center, which during its heyday would help the school locally. The costs to repair both buildings will run in the hundreds of thousands. It is urgent to help the school rebuild and become operational before the start of the fall school year.
Armenians have suffered many calamities in recent history – wars in Lebanon, Artsakh and Armenia, earthquakes in Gyumri. These experiences should have taught us to create a pan-Armenian structure, enjoying the confidence of all segments of the Armenian diaspora, as well as of the Armenian republic, to raise funds worldwide and allocate them to recovering sufferers without any discrimination.
TCA appeals to the alumni of the Tekeyan School, Tekeyan supporters in North America, and the generous Armenians of the diaspora to join in this campaign to make sure that our compatriots in Lebanon are not left alone. There are many worthy aid efforts taking place now. We hope that among them you will consider adopting this school’s cause and support the provision of education as a means of improving the lives of Beirut Armenians.