“We launched the Lebanese Emergency Fund for food hampers, and we will work upon spreading Lebanese culture in all of its facets”
The New President of the Cultural Union of New South Wales, Shane Geha, is aiming and preparing and enjoys great vocational experience and ambition to put the Union on a track to success. Geha visited El Telegraph’s offices with treasurer Richard Melki and Board Members George Bousamra and Hassan Sakr. They are members of a new Organisational Board, with Secretary Petronella Fakhry and Vice President Pierre Chami and Member Laudy Farah Ayoub.
Geha says “people respect you for your deeds and for the extent to which you produce and to the extent you can leave a positive impact in the community. As far as I am concerned, I don’t need money or fame or introduction to politicians. I already have all that without a position. All that concerns me is to serve my people and my community. And if I don’t achieve any of that, then I should not be here. And for success to be complete I shall work upon the inclusion of the youth in the Union by giving them a presence and weight.” Geha regrets not receiving any previous minutes or files from previous years, to rely upon, as there are no records of either previous meetings or agreed resolutions, passed onto his committee.
“Notwithstanding, we should launch ourselves, armed with determination and goodwill, to do good. And we will put before us two goals:
- The propagation of Lebanese Cultural Values globally and the support of the diaspora. The Lebanese are today suffering from an economic crisis and are amidst the Corona Crisis. Then on top of that, came the tragedy of the explosion at Beirut Port.
- And there are people who don’t even know where Lebanon is located on a map, who have called me asking to donate to those Lebanese in need”
As for the methodology in distributing the aid in Lebanon, Geha said: “we asked our friends in Lebanon, whom we trust, to tell us of the people most in need. They have given us a list of names and addresses. And what we noticed, is that there are many who are in need but would not say so. And the office that is doing the distribution, will be in touch with the recipients that will come to accept their portions. And we are dealing in Beirut through the office of a friend Dr Anthony Hasham, who has offered employees to co-ordinate the food aid.
This week we will distribute 240 food hampers and we have a plan to assist those bakeries that are distributing free bread to those needy families. The office of Hasham has been distributing food aid for some time, prior to the Port exploding. We have been able to raise more than $35,000 in eleven days in Sydney, from both Lebanese and Australians from all walks of life. And we will continue to collect donations to assist the Lebanese under all circumstances. “I, for instance, believe in helping universities through the granting of scholarships to needy students, to complete their education. These people are insurance for the future. I already have five educational scholarships, including one at the Bishmizzine School in the Koura.”
The Annual Functions
As for the Cultural Union’s functions, we will revive these said Geha: “we will bring back three annual functions with hopefully one to take place in November if circumstances permit.” And during the first function, we will showcase the Lebanese cuisine, which is world-famous. This will be prepared by Doltone House Chef Mario Karam.
Geha concluded, “we now have 132 members in the Cultural Union. And our aim is to spread the word about Lebanese cultural values and history and folklore and traditions that famed Lebanese hospitality. Our culture is rich so let us be proud of it”