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Making women’s wellness a priority in Lebanon


Contributors: Nanor Tashdjian and Cara Taylor

BEIRUT — Women often carry the burdens of society. With climbing unemployment and poverty in Lebanon, the Jinishian Memorial Program in Beirut got proactive to increase wellness and prevent mental and physical health problems for women. In a warm relationship-based environment, Ani and her group grew in gratitude, belonging and new healthy habits that will impact her and her family for life.

In Ani’s words

“Most of us don’t know how to spend our leisure time. During a recent visit to Jinishian medical dispensary, the pharmacist suggested that I join in a women’s health education program. I agreed because I wanted to spend my free time to renew my body, mind and spirit.”

I found that a small investment of time might literally change my life.

“Before taking part in the health trainings and self-care home techniques, I thought the internet is enough to know about my health and how to improve it. After joining this program, I realized how far-off I was.

“During the first session we completed a stress scale questionnaire. Based on the results, unfortunately, I discovered I was suffering from anxiety and a stressful mind. I was feeling depressed and not in the mood. Those results prompted me to learn new ways of thinking and looking at myself.”

I was searching for hope.

“The face-to face experience taught me practical skills and new tools to help myself and to have the support of others. Topics would range from nutrition, exercise and personal development to handling different roles as a mother and in other relationships.”

We learned to be more mindful, simplify life, live in the present and be grateful.

“Increasing health knowledge is beneficial not only for individuals but also for their families and the surrounding community. I learned the importance of physical activities, diet, healthy foods, weight loss and the risks of consuming caffeinated beverages. I learned how to give up those bad habits in order to have a balanced and healthy lifestyle and live a stress-free life. This was a great project, which helped us to discover and eventually accept that our happiness and performance is directly linked to our daily habits.

“It’s been such a wonderful journey for me. I’m happy that I took part in JMP’s For Better Health project. Not only did I learn a lot, but I also met other participants and we had the opportunity to better know each other. I value the time we spent together in a warm and relaxing environment. I’m very grateful.”

Empowering women, lifting communities

Head of the medical dispensary department of JMP–Lebanon, Nanor Tashdjian organized the For Better Health project with three goals. First, to enrich the women’s knowledge of health hence to prevent diseases and their complications. Second, JMP sees wellness as a key to empowering women so they have a greater capacity to adapt and thrive under the pressures of their society. Lastly, with their acquired knowledge the women will begin a ripple effect of healthy habits and blessings in their families and wider community.

The workshops specifically covered smoking and digestive health as well as risks for heart disease and diabetes including free blood testing. Beyond medical topics, women gained a refreshing sense of belonging to the Armenian Community and a brief spiritual message. Their final outing and mass was hosted by Archpriest Shnork Demirjian in the exquisite Armenian Monastery in Bikfaya.

The Jinishian Memorial Program began in Beirut in 1966 to meet the needs of the post-genocide Armenian population. Today JMP reaches more than 70,000 people each year in seven countries — Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Artsakh and Georgia. The leadership and staff are 100 percent local and unite across Apostolic, Catholic and Evangelical traditions to share God’s love with the most vulnerable.

Give securely online to support the Jinishian Memorial Program. Donors have an important role in supporting this outreach, which is only partially funded by endowment. Giving truly makes a difference in turning life around for these young women.

Jinishian Memorial Program logo

…from poverty and despair
to self-sufficiency and hope

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