ACSAUVEL -Because Giving Is A Virtue


The center is currently in charge of 70 children and adults with special needs. They are welcomed to the center at the age of 5 until the age of 42, at which stage parents are requested to take care of those whose mental failure to keep up with the educational program might undermine the understanding of other children in the center and cause them fear and anxiety.

In order to keep the child within the family climate, instead of secluding him entirely, the center made sure not to include dormitories in its premises. The Ministry of Social Affairs covers the registration fees and the families pay for transportation. Since the center does not have the equipment necessary to handle children with double or multiple disabilities, it opens its doors and harnesses its capacities to attend to those children suffering from mild or moderate mental retardation, because people with severe mental retardation benefit little, if any, from the educational programs available at the center. Students suffering from fear, low self-esteem and introversion can also be transferred from regular school settings where the adequate approaches to dealing with them are absent, into the center. These students require special attention from ACSAUVEL’s specialists to treat the complex of inferiority they have developed in their schools.

Pedagogical Program

In addition to psychotherapy, speech therapy and sports therapy, ACSAUVEL’s psycho-pedagogical program includes music education and IQ activities. Through its specialist education, the center aims to ensure the intellectual, mental and social growth of the patient as well as his physical development, which is most important for boosting children’s confidence. It is noteworthy that the center is home to a basketball team that participates in the Special Olympics.

Theatrical activity

Fully aware of the importance of the role of theatre in providing a space for people to express themselves, unlock their potential and release their most profound feelings, the association introduced theatre into its pedagogical program to enhance the mental and intellectual faculties of the students. This step has set ACSAUVEL apart from the rest of the NGOs caring for children with special needs. Theatrical exercises empower students to confront the judgmental society and enhance their articulation and recitation skills, thus furthering their self-esteem.

ACSAUVEL’s children have performed in five plays over the past five years with the participation of actor and play-writer George Khabbaz who makes sure to be present throughout the entire show to motivate and encourage the children. All the plays served to communicate to the community and the attendees the message that people with special needs are normal people who can love and who deserve to be loved in return and to be given the opportunity to participate in mainstream society far from stigmas and seclusion.

Other Activities

ACSAUVEL’s children have partaken in other activities including the Byblos beach clean-up and the reforestation of fire-stricken areas. They were also part of training workshops held to teach them how the weave wicker baskets, make pottery and mosaics. The workshops were conceived to train children in craft-based skills and they were employed as therapeutic means that helped the child becoming a productive individual who was paid in return for his product. During their attendance of the workshops, the center specialists observe participants and single out those who demonstrate sufficient mental, intellectual and social development for their inclusion in the labor market, after coordination with their parents. Five ACSAUVEL’s students are now active workers fairing quite well and getting decent pay. These workshops are conducted under the supervision of a special trainer and their products are later displayed and sold at the annual Christmas exhibition. The proceeds are channeled to support the center.

Future projects

ACSAUVEL seeks to establish an environmental club for children and adults with special needs, an unparalleled project that will be sponsored and financed by Alfa. The possibility of expanding the premises to include a nursery for disabled children under 4 years of age is also under discussion.


Parents are often struggling with an enormous guilt complex for having given birth to a mentally retarded child. This requires intervention at the family level and drives ACSAUVEL specialists to address this negativity by holding regular meetings in private with each family in private. The center is also faced with family ignorance of how to cope with the children, which necessitates training and education to teach the techniques and strategies for family to cope.

The awareness campaigns aimed at the larger public that have flooded the media have not erased the misconceptions surrounding the mechanisms of coping and coexisting with people with special needs and a lot still need to be done both in education and awareness to promote acceptance and tolerance of differences and to push towards the inclusion of people with special needs into mainstream societal contexts such as schools and labor markets in preparation for their full integration into society. 

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