As part of Russell Bedford’s corporate social responsibility programme, each year the network makes donations to charitable organisations. This year, in partnership with Russell Bedford’s Lebanese member firm, the network chose to make a donation

to a project, to help the people of Beirut. Following the devastating explosion in Beirut on 4 August 2020, that killed at least 200 people and injured around 5,000 others, Russell Bedford wanted to do something to help the people in the city, whose lives have been turned upside down.

Rather than simply make a donation, Mahmoud Saghir, director at Bureau Saghir & Associates, and his colleagues, wanted to show their fellow citizens how much they cared. Lebanese National Team Basketball Player, Ali Mansour, also gave up his time to help with the project, meeting with those who are struggling and helping with the distribution of supplies.

In a rapid response to the disaster, Russell Bedford’s firm in Beirut aimed to support the most vulnerable, as quickly as possible, setting up a crisis response line to allow those in need to seek prompt assistance, and by sending a team out onto the streets of Beirut to speak to those most in need.

The team sought to determine, directly from those who required help the most, the critical items they needed for survival. Many of the people met are living on less than one US dollar a day, unable to afford proper meals and the most basic living essentials.

Phase two involved contacting suppliers to negotiate the best rates for essentials including food, medicine and detergent. This was an extremely important part of the project, since most goods in Lebanon are imported and the value of the Lebanese pound had decreased sharply, while the cost of goods had been increasing exponentially. Hence, the current crisis exacerbated an already difficult challenge.

The final phase involved packing up boxes of supplies and visiting those hardest hit by the disaster. By the end of the project, numerous families across Beirut’s poorest communities will have been visited.

Stephen concluded: “With Mahmoud’s energetic and enthusiastic character, our international board were fully supportive of his efforts to help the people of Beirut through this extremely difficult and painful time. Mahmoud - we thank you and your team for your care and for your efforts, and we are delighted that Russell Bedford could play a small role in helping such a big cause.”