Saloua Raouda Choucair. Composition with Pebbles. 1959. Oil on panel, 13 1/2 × 17 1/4" (34.3 × 43.8 cm). The Riklis Collection of McCrory Corporation (by exchange)

Following the deadly explosion on August 4 in the port of Beirut, many grassroots initiatives snapped into gear and have been providing essential on-the-ground support across the humanitarian and cultural sectors. Every aspect of society has been affected by the devastating blast, and in most cases it has been left up to the people to organize and provide crucial aid to one another in the absence of government support. Many of these organizations were in operation prior to the blast, and have redirected their efforts in response, while others emerged out of the crisis to rebuild newly damaged and destroyed institutions. The following organizations and initiatives run across the arts and education, as well as humanitarian causes. They are all interconnected in their purposes, serving the most vulnerable populations and working to preserve culture.


The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture
The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) was founded in 2007 through the initiative of Arab cultural activists as an independent foundation to support individual artists, writers, researchers, intellectuals, as well as organizations from the Arab region working in the field of arts and culture.

Arab Image Foundation
The AIF looks to engage a broad regional and international community in experimental thought and practice that extends the photographic concept. We offer an inspiring and welcoming environment open to everyone: through our digital platform, our space in Beirut, and our projects and partnerships. Read more about the Arab Image Foundation on Magazine.

Ashkal Alwan
Ashkal Alwan, The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts is a nonprofit organization based in Beirut, Lebanon. Since 1993, the association has been committed to contemporary artistic practice, production, research, and education.

ASSABIL Public Libraries Fund
ASSABIL is a non-sectarian NGO that promotes cultural participation and knowledge sharing through public libraries and public spaces. We encourage reading, unlock imaginations, and nurture critical thinking, thereby contributing to building well-informed communities.

Basmeh & Zeitooneh
Our journey began in 2012, when five volunteers started working to serve Syrian refugees residing in Shatila camp in Beirut. The main goal of these visits was to assess the needs and to fill the gaps left by other aid agencies. This effort has since developed into the establishment of an NGO that runs six community centers in Lebanon and two in Turkey.

Beit el Baraka
In a spirit of respect and support, we aim to provide a tailor-made, accurate, and beneficial response to Lebanon’s economic and multi-dimensional challenges that are depriving many retired citizens of their most basic needs and rights.

Fundraiser for the families of Souk el Tayeb
Souk el Tayeb has evolved since 2004 from an experimental farmers market promoting small-scale farmers and producers, to an organization working on both national and international projects to promote and preserve culinary traditions, rural heritage, and the natural environment.

Helem Lebanon
The Helem centers are a haven for LGBTIQ people in Lebanon and a center for activism that aims to promote human rights for the LGBTIQ community.

Impact Lebanon
Impact Lebanon is a nonprofit organization that brings the community together to pursue initiatives that deliver impact for Lebanon. Our process is to encourage the brainstorming of ideas; promote the sharing of knowledge, resources and expertise; and build strong teams to turn an idea into a successful initiative.

Mophradat creates opportunities for artists from the Arab world through an inventive approach to funding, commissioning, collaborating, and gathering.

Sursock Museum
The Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum is a modern and contemporary art museum in the center of Beirut first opened in 1961, with a mission to collect, preserve, and exhibit local and international art. Situated a mere 800 meters from the explosion site, the Sursock Museum endured colossal damage.

Syrian Eyes
A voluntary nonprofit organization based in Lebanon, formed by motivated youth who believe in human rights, emphasizing the fact that people are equal and that people in need have rights. The Syrian Eyes team aims to provide relief assistance to displaced Syrian refugees in the informal tented settlements in Lebanon and people most in need from the host community.