Gesture from the Heart – supporting elderly people in Lebanon

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik. In the following our interview with Paola of  Gesture from the Heart, an organization in Lebanon, working to support elderly people. Would like to thank Paola for her time.


 How was founded Gesture from the Heart?
GFTH was launched on Christmas 2011 through a spontaneous idea on facebook. The aim was to provide a generous food pack for the abandoned elders and families in need in our community as well a Christmas dinner. To my surprise, the number of people below poverty line exceeded my expectations by far. When I presented the idea together with my findings to my family and friends, I was surprised by their support as they were all willing to help both financially and physically. Having this support, I started the food packs project and displayed it on Facebook. To my second surprise, all my friends and some unknown people to me on Facebook where already sending me their donations and from here we founded Gesture From The Heart a non-political, non-religious organization registered in the Lebanese government.
What are the main social issues in your region of intervention?
Poverty is increasing day by day. There is a complete lack of governmental help and support. Thus Gesture From The Heart is trying to cover different aspects of the seniors lives such providing access to decent food by providing a weekly hot meal for the elders through our project “Meal From The Heart” and distributing big food packs that covers a minimum of 6 months , winterization in order to ensure that our seniors are warm during the cold season and this by providing blankets and heaters, house restoration in order to allow our seniors to live in warm shelter and helping the elders with their medication fees as well interfering if there any emergency.
In what ways do you support children and widows?
For children, we do offer them some recreational activities once a year. We provide them with free cakes, orange juices, popcorns, lollipops, and cotton candy in addition.
For the widows, currently we do try to provide them with project based jobs and this through creating our own brand of jam and through baking for Christmas and Easter traditional food so we can sell them as well cooking for the elders.
How do you promote community empowerment?
We try to engage more people and organizations to our cause and this by introducing them to our activities as well to ours seniors needs.
Gesture From The Heart provided a free public training for women about jam making.
Do you cooperate with local authorities and institutions? If yes, how?

There is a complete absence with the local authorities and institutions. Total despair. The region has been left unattended for so long a period that all good wills started by private people has been drained with time.

What is your next project?


Our next project is the creation of a daily care center for the elders. The aim of the center is to provide a social integration for the elders’ as well different activities such recreational and mental activities and an access to good nutrition.