DUBAI — The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) Youth Board has announced an outreach initiative to support local businesses and organisations in Beirut, following the explosions that claimed the lives of more than 160 people, injured thousands and left as many as 300,000 without a home.

The group’s members are offering free communications support for any NGO, charity or local business based in Beirut who needs help telling their story, including copywriting, editing and translation.

MEPRA Youth Board member and senior manager at Weber Shandwick Nada Elbarshoumi (pictured) said: “In the wake of the tragedy that struck Beirut on August 4, my peers and I were overwhelmed with a daunting feeling of helplessness. Every single one of us has colleagues, friends and loved ones with ties to Beirut and we simply couldn’t sit idly by without helping those affected in some way.

“Financial contributions, while imperative to help rebuild the city, were not something we could commit to as an organisation, so we had a think about how we could give back in a different way and decided to donate our time and skills as PR professionals instead. Mobilising the community on the ground and amplifying Lebanon’s story to the international community is critical to help create awareness and bring on a wave of change that is so desperately needed in the country – we hope to be able to aid these efforts through this initiative."

The MEPRA Youth Board members also include Brazen MENA senior account director Jennifer Love; PageGroup marketing manager Hanisha Lalwani; Weber Shandwick MEMAT head of digital David Willett; Mubadala Investment Company vice president of employee engagement Sara Kazim and communications consultant Shaimaa El Nazer.

The MEPRA Youth Board serves as an advisory body to the trade body’s executive and strategy boards and shapes the strategy for engaging young communicators in the region.

Requests for support from the MEPRA Youth Board should be emailed to [email protected]