Founded in 1986, during the war period, by three academics wishing to preserve the social fabric and to promote development in Lebanon, the ILDES had, as its initial objective, to offer help to the populations displaced by the wars that devastated Lebanon.
Its work has started by the implementation of four activities:
The first stemmed from an intent to oppose beggary. Thus, four vocational training centers, led by professionals, were put in place : a carpentry training center ; a tooling training center ; a sewing and embroidery workshop and a pigs breeding center.
The training thus delivered has allowed displaced young people, deprived of any education, to go into business. As an example, the embroidery students have been able, between 1987 and 1990, to take advantage of the profits coming from the sale of their products in Europe, mainly in France. Since 1990, only the sewing and embroidery center has been maintained, together with a center offering training in the art of painting on fabric and ceramics. Likewise, since 1995 and with an aim at the efficiency and profitability of micro-credits granted from 1993 onwards, training sessions are being organized in rural areas, concentrating on the various trades that could be practiced therein, as well as on accounting.
The second activity has been the sponsoring, through European and Lebanese funds, of the tuition fees for displaced children and of aids to families living in squat centers. The aim of this activity is to fight against the lack or interruption of schooling, and against poverty.
Since 1987, the third activity was the implementation of studies of Lebanese regions, with the aim of knowing the needs and the problems of the population in order to improve our action. This research program is ongoing and includes, since 2001, feasibilty studies of economic projects.
The fourth activity concerns the health of all Lebanese, especially those affected by the wars. In 1988, a health care center has been created at Hadath , which is the gathering point of displaced persons from the Chouf, Aley, the South as well as Beirut’s southern suburbs. The objective of this center was, and still is, to initiate people at sanitary prevention, while providing them with medical aid.
In parallel with these four activities, and in order to achieve its mission, the ILDES has, in association with the International Lebret Center (IRFED), contributed to conferences, workshops and seminars on inter-community problems. A workshop has taken place at the UNESCO Palace, Beirut, in 2003, and another in Bangalore,India, in 2005.These workshops aim at promoting the dialogue among communities and civilizations, within the context of development for the peoples of the South of the Planet.
However, following the political reconciliations which took place since 1991, the country has seen part of these displaced populations return to their villages of origin. The ILDES, true to its objectives in promoting the return of displaced populations, has initiated a program of micro-credits for the reconstruction or the improvement of dwellings, as well as for the starting of income generating economic activities. Likewise, donations for reconstruction have been granted from 1997 to 2001.
Since 1993, and in order to check unemployment and emigration, and to alleviate the difficulty of looking for work faced by the Lebanese, the ILDES has created an employment office.
In 2000 and 2001, the ILDES has put in place a program of aid for the community infrastructure in the return villages for the displaced, in order to facilitate life for the young in these villages, and to promote social dialogue.Since then, this program continues to operate at the request of those interested.