The foundation stage in Zukak El Blat:
In the years 1914 and 1917, Lebanon witnessed extremely difficult economic, political, social and military conditions. The locusts invaded its skies destroying the earth’s bounties and greeneris. The matter became worse with the outbreak of the First World War. This human ordeal prompted some vertuous women to search for a solution that would enable them to secure a shelter to protect widows, mothers and their children from homelessness after their husbands left them to the war fronts. Where they sought with the Ottoman governor (Azmi Bey), who responded to their request, to provide a place to accommodate widowed mothers and orphaned children in a annex of an Ottoman military barracks in the Zuqaq al-Blat area as a place to provide them with housing,food and drink, in exchange for helping the soldiers and students of the Military School with sewing, washing and ironing.The step was the nucleus of establishing the Islamic Orphanage.
However, during the days of the Mandate in 1921, the Allied armies confiscated the property of the Ottoman Empire, including the Military College and the House of Widows and Orphans. This matter led to a multiplication of the social catastrophe, and it required the notables of Beirut to think about the fate of mothers and children. Some of Beirut's notables decided to rent a private building in Burj Abi Haidar. They called it the "Islamic Orphanage" in 1922, which began its activity by providing assistance and support to mothers and their children. The "Islamic orphanage" began its activities by establishing a carpet workshop for widows, in addition to opening special sections for receiving children and young adults.
The Mandate authorities were very cautious about this orphanage and did not want to recognize it, so they issued a decision to stop it's activities on May 17, 1921 AD, despite the determined attempts by the orphanage’s curators to convince them that they are an independent entity far from any political orientation. The confrontation lasted for nearly seven years, until those concerned reached a republican decree issued by the Lebanese government bearing the number 5573, providing for the official recognition of the orphanage and its humanitarian activity, and mentioning the names of the “Memebers of The Board ” for the orphanage in 1929, and the decree annulled the decision issued by the Mandate authorities on May 17 1921 AD, the judge abolished the work of the orphanage, and this was achieved during the reign of President Charles Debbas, based on the proposal of the Minister of Interior, Health and Public Aid at the time, Sheikh Bechara Al-Khoury.
Despite the issuance of the Republican Decree, which was considered a victory for humanitarian work, the Mandate authorities remained wary towards the orphanage and those in charge of it, especially since it gained the sympathy and support of the community and became a destination for those in need on the one hand, and benefactors on the other hand. They sought to expropriate the property, under the pretext of the need to establish a central reservoir Water in Beirut on the property despite the expansion of spaces in the Burj Abi Haidar area.
The struggle began to achieve the goals that included the future security of the community, and the need became necessary to work on establishing a facility for The Islamic Orphanage.
Building an Islamic Orphanage and spatial expansion within Beirut:
The Edifice Building Loomed:
These donations covered the costs of construction as well as the amount needed to construct the central building that was designed in a modern Islamic characterized style, which was inaugurated in 1933 AD, in addition to the halls of accommodation and education for orphans, in addition to an additional building that included a large hall that bore the name “Al Muntada” The Forum that became a center of Cultural, literary, sports, scouting and social activity in Beirut, especially since 1958.
“Tarik El Jdideh” - The New Road
A road was constructed between the "Mosque of Al-Horsh" and the Islamic Orphanage to provide a new way to access the area due to the narrow sandy alleys on the hill and the paths obstructed by broad and high cactus plants. This new route became known as "Tarik El Jdideh," meaning The New Road, and allowed people to reach the orphanage more easily.
The construction of the Islamic Orphanage was made by the efforts of righteous benefactors who worked to raise funds and build the edifice, and began its mission of caring for orphaned children with a deep sense of commitment and dedication to its cause.