Underlining a shared commitment to supporting humanitarian causes in the region, Toyota Motor Corporation and Community Jameel recently completed the handover of eight brand-new vehicles to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Lebanon. The vehicles were provided as part of a multifaceted collaboration announced in March that leverages the three partners’ diverse but complementary resources and expertise in response to global challenges.
The gift of the eight Toyota vehicles, which will be used to support the IRC’s team of humanitarian aid workers in Lebanon, strengthens their mission to support refugees and vulnerable communities in the country. The IRC has been working in Lebanon since 2012, providing emergency aid, education, and protection to refugees, in addition to emergency economic assistance to those affected by the 2020 explosion in Beirut. The donation reflects Toyota’s dedication to creating a positive impact and contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through its activities by always putting ‘people first’ at the heart of its mission.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda stated last year that, regardless of their actual contents, when Toyota vehicles are used in humanitarian efforts across the globe they are “carrying kokoro (heart).” His comments came as he recalled the powerful emotions he encountered as he traveled to the disaster-stricken area of Tohoku following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Toyoda said: “I have never felt as strongly as I did then that a car is also a vehicle for conveying emotions. I want to keep that experience with me for the rest of my life.” This experience inspired the launch of Toyota’s ‘Kokoro Hakobu Project’, an initiative originally intended to support the areas affected by the earthquake that has since been extended to encompass Toyota’s activities aimed at helping people recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reflecting recently on his 12-year presidency, Toyoda commented: “Looking at the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a set of squares laid out in three rows of six, you will see that the space for the last square is empty. I believe that people’s happiness is the 18th goal. Producing Happiness for All does not mean producing the same thing for everyone. Thinking through diversification and engaging in high-mix, low-volume production is the kind of ‘production of happiness for all’ for which we aim. As we move step-by-step towards the future, I hope that we will one day arrive at a world of the 18th SDG.”
Ms. Yumi Otsuka, Operating Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer, Toyota Motor Corporation, said: “At Toyota, we remain fully committed to Producing Happiness for All and Creating Mobility for All, ensuring that no one is left behind. We are humbled to be in a position to work hand-in-hand with our partners at Community Jameel to support the IRC’s humanitarian efforts in the region in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as address the long-term impacts of the disaster that took place in Beirut last August, which displaced thousands of people. We will continue to seek out innovative ways of contributing to the UN’s SDGs by diversifying our solutions to accommodate the needs of communities around the world and be the best in town.”
Mr. George Richards, Director of Community Jameel, commented: "We are proud to be a part of this unique collaboration, which sees three very different organizations join hands to leverage our resources and collective expertise in support of the local community. Through the deployment of Toyota’s vehicles, responders can get to where they need to be, faster. Together, we are enhancing mobility to meet the evolving needs of the people of Lebanon, many of whom continue to face a public health emergency. We look forward to working closely with Toyota and the IRC to help build a better future.”
Mr. Matias Meier, Country Director for the IRC in Lebanon said: "One year on from the Beirut explosion that displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes, the needs of vulnerable communities remain dire. Weakened health facilities are still struggling from the impact of COVID-19 and the economy is still under collapse, with one million people living under the poverty line. Lebanon urgently needs support from the international community more than ever, and this partnership with Community Jameel and Toyota comes at a crucial moment. The contribution of these vehicles will have a direct and tangible impact on our team’s operations and their mission to reach the people of Lebanon with life-saving services."
The exclusive distributor of Toyota and Lexus in Lebanon, Boustany United Machineries Company s.a.l. (BUMC), will serve as the on-the-ground service provider for the eight vehicles as they are put to use across Lebanon in support of the IRC’s humanitarian programs.
Ms. Maria Rita Boustany, Manager of Marketing & Human Resources, at BUMC, said: “On behalf of the Lebanese people, BUMC s.a.l. would like to thank the IRC, Community Jameel and Toyota Motor Corporation for their generous support, which demonstrates a love and respect for humanity that transcends borders. Many families were displaced in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion and are continuing to rebuild their lives and homes during a challenging economic situation, all of which is further complicated by COVID-19. We are extremely grateful and certain that these Toyota vehicles will make a huge difference in the lives of those who need help the most.”