Within the initiative financed by PMI Lebanon, aiming to support education, the Regie held on Monday a ceremony to offer 136 scholarships to the children of tobacco farmers in North, who had graduated their secondary school.
The ceremony was attended by the Regie’s President and General Manager Mr. Nassif Seklaoui, the chief of the union of tobacco farmers’ syndicates in Lebanon Mr. Hassan Fakih, and several municipal chiefs and economic and social figures.
Seklaoui took the stage: “today we meet students that are pursuing knowledge and education but in few years we will meet them as engineers and productive, active, and pioneer individuals.”
“For the fourth consecutive year, the Regie aims, along with PMI and the tobacco union, to provide scholarships to the children of tobacco farmers in order to pursue higher education”. “This year, we are glad to offer additional 136 scholarships in the dearest North to those who had concluded their secondary education. Our promise is that the program of humanitarian development will continue, with additional scholarships in Bekaa region in the next year”.
Seklaoui underlined that “this initiative, coming within the sustainable development plan, is the result of responsibility, belief, and vision”. “The development of local communities must be a priority, and the Regie had achieved several objectives in this domain, thanks to the sustainable development plan. These scholarships are the best example of our sense of responsibility toward our farmers that we consider as the base of the Regie’s work”. “Every year, the North provides the Regie with 1500 tons of tobacco and tombac, cultivated from 97 northern villages”, he added.
To the farmers, he said: “On social and economical levels, our duty is to stand by your side, especially in Akkar region”. “On the other side, the initiative is the result of our belief in education and its role in the development of societies. We, at the Regie, have a great role that we could achieve, especially when it comes to preventing school dropout and providing youth with best skills that enable them to get better job opportunities and brighter future.”
Kabara and Fakif
At the beginning of the ceremony the head of agriculture department and purchase in North Lebanon Mr. Mohammad Kabbara had made an inauguration speech. Then Fakih spoke : “The Regie wanted this event to become an annual tradition, within an initiative from its General Manager, Committee of Directors, and Administration, supported by PMI and local unions and syndicates. This modest tradition demonstrates in the first hand the deep relationship between the Regie, PMI, syndicates, and farmers and in the second hand the noble developmental goals of the symbolic annual contributions provided for the children of farmers, encouraging them to pursue their education.” He added that the Union of tobacco syndicates “worked, recently, to establish this tradition, in cooperation with the Regie and PMI. Moreover, it would keep paying such efforts that pay off on several aspects”.
Fakih as well reminded of “basic requests that distress farmers, on top of which enrolling tobacco farmers in the national social security fund (…) and raising the prices of farmers’ products.”Fourth year
It is worth noting that for the fourth consecutive year, the Regie offers such scholarships, covering in last three years Nabatieh, Marje’ioun, and Tyre.
Such step comes within the Regie’s aim to increase life conditions through developing educational skills, implementing the policy of social protection among the children of tobacco farmers, and providing them with an access to education. As well, the initiative comes within the sustainable development plan that the Regie executes in several regions, from North to South.
The program shines the light on PMI’s continuous and serious commitment towards supporting tobacco farmers in Lebanon. It increases, also, the company’s pioneer role in organizing such programs and initiatives, especially those with educational and local developmental goals, in parallel of the parent company’s policy of contributing to and investing in economic and educational development.