Lebanon launched on Wednesday a social grant program that aims to provide the country’s disabled people with direct economic support.
At least 20,000 people with disabilities will receive a monthly allowance of 40 U.S. dollars each for 12 months under the National Disability Allowance (NDA) program, which was jointly launched by Lebanon’s Ministry of Social Affairs, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), UNICEF said in a statement.
“The NDA aims to support individuals with disabilities to face the extra cost of disability and facilitate their access to key services. While all persons with disabilities would ultimately be eligible to receive the NDA, youth aged 18-28 are prioritized during the first roll-out to support them in their transition to higher education or to joining the labor market,” it added.
While showing his gratitude to those who contributed to the program, Lebanese caretaker Minister of Social Affairs Hector Hajjar said, “we have decided to support the most vulnerable groups in a structured manner, and we are trying, through the National Social Protection Strategy, to guarantee the continuity of this support for the most vulnerable at all levels.”
Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon, said, “social protection is a human right. However, persons with disabilities are among the most excluded and marginalized groups, and often face multiple challenges in realizing their human rights.”
Lebanon has been suffering from a major financial crisis, causing a collapse of the local currency and devaluation in wages, plunging over 80 percent of the population into poverty. ■