This is exciting and is just being launched today in Beirut. Check out the video at the end
Growing up in Lebanon, we did not receive sexual education in school, and university education did not add much in that field. Even in medical school, the topic appeared to be as much of a taboo to be studied as it is a taboo to be discussed in a positive way in the society. Going through residency training, we were not allowed to give educational seminars about the health of sexual minorities.
Lebanon has come a long way since then, but there still is much needed. Research on sexual health is not popular and when executed, it is poorly funded.
In an effort to break the status-quo, LebMASH (Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health), a Lebanese non-governmental non-profit organization working to advance the healthcare of sexual minorities and sexual health in general in Lebanon, launched the BTS (Break The Silence) Grant 3 years ago. BTS thus far has been self funded by LebMASH’s executive board. This year LebMASH’s funds have been stretched thin especially with embarking on new projects like the workshop on sexual and LGBT health offered to LeMSIC medical students in Broummanna in March 2015 among others. To ensure the sustainability of BTS student grants LebMASH is turning to the public for funding. Regular granting organizations do not seem to be interested in funding such activity and LebMASH refuses to custom tailor projects to fit big-donors’ agendas.
LebMASH has just launched a LebMASH crowdsourcing campaign hosted by Zoomaal. I urge you to donate or pledge an amount no matter how small it is. You can also help by reaching out to your network and ask for contributions from friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances that can support this grant. A small amount from a big number of people will make a good amount. It will also help immensely if you share this campaign on your social media portals as Facebook and Twitter and on mailing lists and groups you are part of.
Over the past three years, LebMASH has sponsored three students to attend conferences in San Francisco, Denver and Baltimore. Each time LebMASH paid 1,500 USD in return to receipts that often exceeded this amount. LebMASH covers travel and accommodation costs as well as per diem. The BTS crowdsourcing campaign has a goal of raising 5,000 USD to fund the student grant for the coming three years #BTS2015, #BTS2016, and #BTS2017.
If by 2018 we do not find a funder, we will turn to you again.
The feedback from BTS alumni has been overwhelmingly positive. They brought back home new perspectives and knowledge. And the networking opportunities enriched their career paths.
Your support will change the status quo by ensuring our future health care providers and educators are knowledgeable about and comfortable discussing sexual health.