28 Jan 2019
Beirut, Lebanon
Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Waste Management

George Ghafary came across a section of society big enough not to ignore and ostracized from the society and the job market. “My childhood friend and I were faced with this issue of rehabilitated drug addicts being turned away from jobs,” he says.

Ghafary later realized that there is a number of at least 25,000 drug addicts. “If this number gets the help they need, with rehabilitation, they often find it hard to work or find a job,” Ghafary remarks. Besides that, NGOs with the rule of rehabilitation offer no skills and teach those who recover nothing.

“They often get told the society is ready to have and accept them and that they now have a new beginning, while they’re actually uneducated and unskilled at that point,” Ghafary notes adding that most addicts acquire the habit at a young age and it can be until adulthood when they go clean, making them lose a big part of their adolescence.

Armed with that knowledge, Ghafary wanted to tackle this issue through his initiative, Chreek, with partners, Mikeal Awad and Jocelyne Saade. “People are unaccepting of this youth so we thought of combining environmental and social issues together to create job opportunities,” he says.

He also highlighted the fact that there are environmental jobs that do not receive much attention by other people but are sought after by people who were rehabilitated. “We called [it] ‘social-professional integration’ which is done through teaching them skills to work with,” Ghafary remarks.

The skills Chreek taught were topped with the ability to upcycle, whether to bags, accessories or other items, which helped secure jobs for this youth. “We also manage to secure other jobs through our network of NGOs and companies and teach them plumbing, carpentry, graphic design and other free crafts,” Ghafary explains.

In the wake of Lebanon’s waste crisis, Chreek was quick to collaborate with municipalities to work on recycling projects which proved successful and provided job opportunities to the youth.

Another project Chreek worked on was one they called Eco-village, where men as well as women were employed. That village specialized in organic crops and food products.

Ghafary and the team constantly try to work in other cities while targeting youth and people who’d like to be part of the initiative.


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Chreek Resource efficiency & sustainable waste managment