Interview #2 – Kris Huybrechts – Live is Beautiful

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In Luxor, I meet with Kris Huybrechts, founder and manager of Live is Beautiful, a non for profit social organisation providing after school activities for children as well as healthcare services, in and around Luxor.

As a local medical organisation, Live is Beautiful identifies two challenges the local community has to face. The first one is the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, the second one is the tackling of potential development of complications the illness may cause.

It is through education, the core activity of Live is Beautiful, that the organisation deals with the first challenge. To do so, an illustrated book has been printed in collaboration with Egyptian medical staff, among which, Dr. Nasr Abd Elmoty.

Afterschool classesRababha Football activity

Raising awareness of the population about what diabetes is, which symptoms one should pay attention to, and why one should seek medical advice, are the priorities of that piece of work. The book also tries to raise awareness about daily life’s do’s and don’t’s which may affect someone with diabetes, or which may reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes. For instance, it is a cultural routine in Egypt and in the Arab world to offer sweetened tea and biscuits to guests. Refusing a welcome tea often not being an option because of social expectations, the authors try to explain both to the host and the guest, why the guest should refuse the offer, and how the host can still be welcoming by, for example proposing an unsweetened tea or beverage to the guest. This small gesture may seem insignificant, yet, in a society with strong social bonds and interactions as in Egypt or the Arab world in general, such mark of attention may do the difference. Indeed, like most illnesses, acknowledging the condition is the first step of the treatment.

The book has been written in classic Arabic, which extends the reach of the publication outside the borders of Egypt, and has been distributed for free. Beyond patients with diabetes, the organisation hopes, to reach:

  • a population who might not have access to medical facilities ;
  • a public unfamiliar with medical topics ;
  • unschooled and/or illiterates persons ;
  • the Arab world in general.

The second front on which Live is Beautiful is engaged, is one which appears once things have turned sour. The work of the organisation consists in bringing together the people and resources needed to provide protheses to amputated patients. Once again, the organisation supports education, as it is working in close collaboration with teachers and students of the Thomas More school in Belgium. Every year, students are selected to work on the production of custom made protheses for patients in Luxor. The work is done in collaboration with, and monitored by, volunteer doctors who install those protheses. The scheduled operation is then the opportunity for both Belgian and Egyptian medical staff to meet and exchange on best practices.
Life is Beautiful host international interns on a regular basis.

Medical teamProthese 2

*****

Live is Beautiful is a non profit organisation active in Egypt, mainly in and around the city of Luxor. It was founded with the impulsion of Kris, Lydie and An Huybrechts in 2003. At first, the organisation provided school material to disadvantaged children before, organically, growing into a more complete project, providing after-school support as well as sport activities to the children. Over the years, the people active in Live is Beautiful identified the need for a healthcare facility focussing on physical reeducation. Dar Al Shifa House of Healthcare, situated in downtown Luxor, opened its doors in early 2015. Volunteer doctors provide free medical consultations to patients all year round and the organisation regularly hosts visiting doctors as well as international interns.
Live is beautiful is exclusively funded by donations.

For more information about Live is Beautiful, visit www.liveisbeautiful.be
Click hereafter to access the illustrated diabetes book.
If you want to help Live is Beautiful, please contact Kris Huybrechts by email at kris@liveisbeautiful.be
If you want to sponsor the organisation, you may transfer money on the following bank account :

IBAN: BE09 9796 4971 1257
BIC: ARSPBE22

All pictures provided by Live is Beautiful.

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