Pierre Issa

Organization: 
arcenciel
Country: 
Lebanon
Website: 

arcenciel’s is enabling vulnerable and marginalized people to become productive members of Lebanese society.

Focus: Agriculture, employment, environment, health, social services, tourism, youth
Geographic Area of Impact: Lebanon
Model: Hybrid Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 80,000 (2014)
Annual Budget: USD 16.8 million (2014)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 66% (2014)

The Social Problem
The needs of Lebanon’s most vulnerable citizens are significant and largely unmet by traditional actors. The government’s ability to provide even basic services is restricted by limited financial, human, technological resources. Civil society is constrained by low resources and charitable approaches to alleviating poverty.

Innovation and Activities
arcenciel realizes its mission through a mixed portfolio of income-generating services that help finance the non-revenue generating services provided at 13 different service centres spread throughout Lebanon.

Five hundred staff across the thirteen centres offer a range of services based on the local needs of that particular region. The most significant services include:
• The mobility program: Nearly 200 staff, most of them handicapped, produce and distribute affordable technical aids to people with disabilities such as walkers, crutches, wheelchairs, and ramps. Through the “Access and Rights” policy enacted by the Ministry of Social Affairs initiated and supported by arcenciel, the government reimburses all providers of mobility aids in Lebanon so as to ensure financial means is not a barrier to access. arcenciel is transferring its expertise in this area to partner NGOs in Jordan, Egypt and Syria.
• The hazardous waste program: Five centres employ marginalized people, such as ex-convicts, who conduct sorting, stocking, collection, and treatment of hospital waste. Hospitals pay for the service, and the hazardous waste is treated, neutralized, and then disposed of properly. arcenciel is transferring its expertise in this area to partner NGOs in Algeria and Syria.
• The health program: arcenciel manages a large network of doctors, nurses, dentists, and specialists who provide a few hours a week of free consultations and diagnostic services in health clinics run in the organisation’s four main centers These services are offered to Lebanese citizens as well as refugees who do not have health coverage and are unable to pay for these services themselves. Cumulatively these medical professionals have provided more than 325,000 services.

arcenciel’s impact reaches beyond these direct services to beneficiaries. Its hiring strategy is to provide a bridge to the job market for those who have trouble finding employment such as physically or mentally disabled people, ex-drug addicts or ex-convicts. acrenciel “proudly” maintains a workforce turnover rate of 27% annually as its trainees and employees go on to find jobs in more traditional companies. In addition, it has achieved change at the policy level, successfully passing “Law 220” which enshrines rights and benefits for disabled people.

The Entrepreneur
Pierre Issa has worked with people with disabilities since the 1970s. In 1985 he co-founded arcenciel, developing many innovative services during the organization’s history, and today serves as its General Director. In 2014 he was awarded the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur for arcenciel’s work. Over the years Pierre has served on numerous committees including the National Committee for Persons with Disabilities in Lebanon, and he is also a founding member of the Himaya organization working with abused children.