In the absence of a functional government, comprehensive traffic laws and the naive Lebanese mentality when it comes to driving, The Talal Kassem Fund for Post Accident Care: Roads for Life, is on an important mission.
Defunct governments and institutions, and unfortunately tragic losses and deaths, push individuals and groups in Lebanon to fill in the void with volunteerism and goodwill. For those of you who don’t know, Talal Kassem is a 17-year-old IC student that was killed when a raging driver hit him on the corniche road in front of IC.
The untimely death of this young man has catalyzed the Roads for Life initiative. The main goal is of course updating Lebanon’s traffic law, and actually implementing (versus being harassed by KFC-loving thugs dressed as police officers). Unfortunately, that goal is a very long-term one, and in the meantime, thousands of people will die on the streets.
That is why, the Roads for Life initiative’s focus now is on the Advanced Trauma Life Support course, or ATLS. RFL hopes to give this course to Red Cross volunteers and ER doctors and caregivers from across Lebanon. The course is mandatory in many developed nations and Lebanon is the 42nd country to start giving this course thanks to RFL.
The first class of ATLS course should graduate later this year. The class of 16 is located at the AUBMC, where equipment and expertise are available. The plan though is to train and equip a lot more people and hospitals in Lebanon. The idea is, if we can’t stop accidents, we might as well improve the chances of accident victims in the crucial 60 minutes after trauma.
Personally, I loved this initiative. Apart from being a noble and much-needed cause, it is refreshingly specific. This helps us, and them of course, gauge the success and progress of the NGO. Other NGOs “promote awareness” or “help people” but, it never is really clear and observable. The ATLS course, its graduates and impact will be felt and real, which makes it all the more worthy of everyone’s support.
On Saturday, two French-Algerian artists, Algerino and Faudel, performed at the Zouk Roman Ampitheater. Faudel is famous (as Hady tells me =P) and Algerino’s presence is a more meaningful one. His song “Trinite”, is the song Talal sent to his mother the night before he died. Moved by this touching story, Algerino made his way to Lebanon to help launch Roads for Life amid the bitter-sweet tears shed by Talal’s family, classmates, friends and strangers alike.
The music was upbeat and rap-like, but unfortunately for me, in French! However, I did enjoy it immensely and admired the dedication and resolve of the people behind this project. I wish them all the best and urge you to keep up with their events and activities.
Make sure you check out their Facebook Page, their website and follow their Twitter and YouTube accounts, which my dearest friend Sana Tawileh is helping make awesome. I’d also like to thank Hady Chehlaoui and Deek Duke team for allowing me to get to know the RFL initiative better and help spread the word.