The work of Al-Kafaàat Foundation began in 1957 when the founder, Nadim Shwayri, declined lucrative work as a businessman to begin a project to serve the handicapped in a destitute neighborhood in Beirut. The project consisted of a small leather factory that produced leather products, and which looked pretty normal to the naked eye. It offered, however, a unique exception: it only employed people with disabilities. It was Nadim’s mission to prove to the world through this project that not only people with disabilities could be equally productive citizens in the Lebanese society, but that they could also be major contributors to the country’s economy. And so through the years, he developed his mission to provide a variety of services that catered for the less privileged of the society.
Today, Al-Kafaàt provides rehabilitation, educational, vocational and employment services to an average of 4,500 daily beneficiaries from all communities, in 7 different centers. Al-Kafaàt, officially recognized as a nonprofit by presidential decree (“Reconnue d’Utilité Publique”), nondenominational and nonpartisan. It is governed by a professional board of 15 trustees. In the 50 years since its founding Al-Kafaàt has served more than 25,000 persons with disabilities and social challenges.
Al-Kafaàt has pioneered the “School-Enterprise Model” of vocational training since its early 1957 beginnings. Taking it one step further, it is on this model that the Foundation provides vocational training to its students population on its main Vocational Campus, whereby trainees are integrated in productive activities while undergoing their their training at the Al-Kafaàt Campus.
The prime example of the successful implementation of the “School Enterprise Model” is Al-Kafaàt’s Catering School, which annually graduates 200 students and trainees who are fully qualified to gain employment in the restaurant industry, either working for hotels, restaurants, or food production industries. Al-Kafaàt’s program of training at the Catering School requires students to gain practical experience in the one of the school’s productive facilities: the school’s restaurant kitchen, model restaurant, and the industrial kitchen located on Al-Kafaàt’s main Campus. Concurrently, students and trainees attend theoretical classes in order to complete their requirements for graduation, including languages, mathematics, and other fields. Course curricula are oriented towards providing students the much needed skills to secure a safe employment. For example, foreign language education in this particular training (a requirement in the Lebanese system) is based on a technical vocabulary that is needed in the catering profession.
Al-Kafaàt Foundation also offers higher education programs to young adults of limited financial means, particularly programs in Hospitality Management that enable students to acquire hands-on training in either one of the restaurants and industrial kitchens of the Foundation.
Students following the Hospitality Management program study Hospitality Management, Rooms Division Operation, Front Office Operations, Housekeeping, Property & Environment Management, Professional Guests Services, Food, Beverage & Labor Cost Control, Purchasing, Tour Guide skills, Hotel Sales & Marketing…
The Foundation continually works towards expanding its outreach and improving the quality of education and training it provides. The Foundation is continually working to expand its outreach and improve the quality of education that it provides to students.
Learn more about Al-Kafaat Foundation at
The Director of Al-Kafaàt Catering School is Chef Ramzi Shwayri, a man widely known from Masqat to Marrakech as the leading Arab Chef. His daily television show, bestselling cookbooks (translated in 6 languages), and cooking magazine … are all well known to Arabs in the Middle East, as well as to the Arab Diaspora in Europe an America. Despite his busy schedule, Chef Ramzi is deeply committed to the Al-Kafaàt Foundation and to making sure that the Catering School provides the best training to its youth. His success has earned him many international awards.