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Read the following story about a brother and sister living in Lebanon who were helped by an IOCC program. Pay special attention to the sentences with the pictures by them. Answer the questions at the end of the story. Each question was written to allow you to think about how you felt when you read about Ali and Rana or to reflect on your own life.

Rana and Ali

Thirteen-year-old Rana and her 8-year-old brother, Ali, are students in Al Shiyyah Public School in Beirut, one of 181 schools being served by IOCC’s education program in Lebanon. As they speak, their eyes tell a sad story of neglect and loneliness.

“I like going to school,” Rana said, “but last year, we had to stay in the streets, my brother and I, because we had no money or food.” A young girl in the fourth grade, she takes responsibility for herself and her brother, who is in second grade.

“We are like others. We have everything we need,” Rana said, trying to find some hope in their situation.

The truth is: Ali is sitting next to her wearing only a sweater — no coat for the winter, shivering from the cold. “I enjoy eating the meals they give us,” he said of the IOCC school lunch program. “I always wait for it because I usually don’t have enough money to buy food at school.”

The IOCC program, now in its fourth year, serves 35,000 underprivileged Lebanese children, providing them with nutritious lunches and lessons on personal health, hygiene and care for the environment.

So far, the project has gone well beyond the walls of the participating schools. Its seven components — nutrition, education, capacity building, advocacy, child health, infrastructure repair, and equipment — have brought hope and opportunity not only to students but also to parents, communities and local organizations.

Rana and Ali’s parents are divorced. Their father has spent more time in jail than he has at home, and their mother left them after the divorce and was remarried.

At first, they stayed with their father, who left them with no food, just some money to buy junk food — a potato sandwich, a fajita sandwich or anything to ease their hunger, and only their hunger. Children at this age need healthy food and a balanced diet to ensure proper growth and development.

Rana and Ali eventually moved back with their mother after the school principal called her. “Staying with our mom is better than with our dad because she looks after us and gives us food,” Rana said.

Now some teachers and the school principal are trying to help Rana and Ali by paying for their transportation, their school registration and their books. In doing so, they hope to keep the brother and sister from living on the streets once again because of lack of money or care.

Rana and Ali said that every day they look forward to the lunches and lessons, which provide students with their minimum daily nutritional requirements and help prevent short-term hunger.


Do you have younger brothers or sisters that you help to take care of? What are some of the things you do for them?

Does it seem like Rana and Ali have everything they need? What are some things that everyone needs in order to survive?

How many sweaters and coats do you have in your closet? Are there some you do not wear anymore? What are some things you can do with those sweaters and coats? Have you ever not had enough money to buy food at school? How did this make you feel?

What are some of the healthy foods you eat? Can you name the food groups?

What do you think it is like for people who have to live on the streets? How does it make you feel to think about children who do not have any food to eat? What are some ways you can help them?

How IOCC Is Helping In Lebanon
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