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Phone Number: +9617733119
Opening hours: 8:30 AM- 8:00 PM
The Outreach and Leadership Academy, hereinafter, referred to as “OLA”, was established in February 2015 as a beacon of civic engagement and social responsibility upon the strategic partnership agreement between Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development and the Lebanese American University.
Today, OLA educates, empowers and engages the local communities in South Lebanon in personal capacity building training programs provided for free as well as simulations of Model programs. The site is also open for tourist visits all days of the week.
The old city of Saida is a treasure hidden under the dust, and the project has unleashed the assets of the city and promoted its cultural heritage through restoring “Dar Ali Hammoud.” The project has contributed in preserving one of the historical landmarks in the old city that goes back to the 18th century. Besides, the venue has been in the community’s collective memory as several generations in the city studied in the ‘Aisha Heritage School and its restoration has been promoting the cultural heritage in the city.
Restoring the place and establishing OLA have transformed this historical place from a hub of drug trafficking to an educational hub that contributes in the community’s social transformation. Since its establishment in 2015, more than 6000 participants entered the old city to acquire trainings in OLA. This has led to cultural exchange among people from all over Lebanon and the residents of the old city that enhanced the social and cultural exchange between various social classes and broken the stereotype on the insecurity of the old city. This center has been playing a key role in poverty alleviation through equipping individuals in the south, and specifically in the old city, with employability skills that enable them to find job opportunities and excel in the community as active agents. Moreover, OLA has been contributing in hindering the risks surrounding youth and children through creating a safety net where they can interact and express themselves openly in a safe and credible atmosphere with their peers from various backgrounds and experiences.
Therefore, the mission of OLA has always focused on hindering the surrounding risks in the local community and countering all forms of violence and extremism through education, the only driving force of changing its culture and shifting society from a status to another. For this reason, OLA is considered a pilot model that has been replicated in Beirut, Lebanon and Bekaa, Lebanon to implement programs that are contextually relevant to the community’s needs in each region.