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Patriarch visit raises half a million for Lebanon students

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10,000 Maronites came together for the high point of their golden jubilee celebrations. Photo: SNAPIX/Maronite Eparchy of Australia

The Maronite Eparchy of Australia has raised over half a million dollars during its Sydney and Melbourne launches of the Lebanese School Appeal.

Maronites dug deep during the visit of their patriarch to raise a staggering $531,044.69, which Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay explained would go directly towards student fee relief for struggling families in Lebanon.

The funds were raised at two gala dinners in Sydney and Melbourne on 16 and 21 September.

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“I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this appeal in any way. Funds raised will go directly towards the school fees of some 700 students severely affected by the ongoing economic crisis, in 12 schools across all regions of Lebanon,” Bishop Tarabay said.

“While not insignificant, this is a modest contribution when compared with the increasing need, and just one step towards addressing a vast shortfall and the major educational challenge facing parents and students in Lebanon.

“It is now crucial to work together to secure children’s right to accessing education and ensure brighter prospects in a country that has lost so much hope.”

The initiative was launched in line with the Australian visit of Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai as part of the celebrations of the golden jubilee of the establishment of the Maronite Eparchy in Australia.

The Maronite Eparchy is continuing to raise funds for the appeal at www.maronite.org.au/appeals as the economic crisis continues to severely impact Lebanon’s educational sector and increasing poverty rates.

“For this reason, we have also decided to launch and promote the Lebanese School Appeal initiative through our parishes and organisations, for the coming years,” Bishop Tarabay added.

The eparchial taskforce committee together with the World Patriarchal Foundation for Integral Development in Lebanon will oversee the distribution of the money raised for school fees for students selected against program criteria.

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