Our story

How Live Love Started

Eddy Bitar and Youmna Chamcham at Idealab, Pasadena in 2013
Live Love Beirut started in 2012, with 2 Lebanese friends:

A 22 year old studying in Los Angeles.

And A 26 year old working in Beirut.

They'd been friends for 10 years at the time, and met up in the Summer of 2012 in Beirut.

The Summer of 2012 in Lebanon looked like:

  • Burned wheels on highways and political turmoil
  • A refugee crisis
  • The worst touristic summer since 1946 because of the ban on tourists

A friend of theirs had just come back from Brazil with a colorful wish bracelet.

Someone they both love suggested they make a wish bracelet for Lebanon too.

Legend goes, you put it around your wrist, you make 3 knots and a wish. When the bracelet falls off, the wish comes true.

They were to call it: Live Love Beirut.
Within a few days, Eddy printed 1,000 neon green Live Love Beirut bracelets.

Youmna had her video camera on her.

Off they went wandering around Gemmayzeh, asking people to wear their bracelet, and to name what they loved about Lebanon.

"Nothing" "it's horrible" "we want to leave" -- no luck.

How could they express hope in this dark world?

Instagram was just coming up at the time, back when it had no ads, chronological feeds, no stories and no dm's.

A director they love suggested they start a hashtag.

And then and there, #livelovebeirut was born.
They prompted locals to share the beauty of Lebanon with the world on this hashtag.

Everyday they reposted the most beautiful photos that people shared

It became a beauty hunt in a mad world.

An act of resistance. Finding light, softness and tenderness in the dark.

People competed fiercely for a chance to be featured.

There were competitions of the best sunsets, the best photos of vintage cars, the best photos of food, the best photos of knefe's. It would melt hearts all the way from Beirut to LA.
In 6 months, @ livelovebeirut had a million cumulative likes.

Abbas, Sandro and George joined their team. They set up the NGO: Live Love Lebanon.

They celebrated their first 1,000 followers with champagne. 20,000 followers with an article in L'Orient le Jour.

We'd like to think it made audiences smile even when everything around them was collapsing. The Live Love Beirut bracelet was worn by Lebanese people all around the world.

We'd like to think it made Lebanese people abroad feel like they could pull up the page and say: that's Lebanon. That's Home. It's not only defined by its problems.

Not long after trying hard to focus on beauty and positivity only, we received this photo of the Shouwen lake.
We were left wondering.

What do we do? Do we ignore it or could we do something about it?

With 10,000 followers, we could perhaps, maybe, mobilize help.

We posted it and asked: who wants to come clean this lake with us next saturday.

Youmna uploaded the photo and went to sleep in LA.

Eddy got bombarded with requests of people who wanted to join all day

180 people wrote their emails in the comments

300 showed up at the very first live love volunteering event the following saturday

And this marked the beginning of the Live Love Volunteer program, one still alive to this day, having mobilized thousands of volunteers, in partnership with the UN and countless brands.
Every other weekend, for 9 years now, Live Love has mobilized volunteers to clean up seas and sea shores, lakes and forests. To plant trees. To build schools. To assist people in need. To entertain people with disabilities.

Soon after, Live Love accounts started to emerge from countries around the world. So we built the Live Love Ambassador Program. Giving young people in any village or city around the world, the tools and technology they need to build and grow their own Live Love communities and social media channels.
Those punctual actions were turned into sustainable social enterprises such as:

Live Love Recycle to establish a long term app based solution to Lebanon's waste management crisis.

Live Love Tours to create business for eco-tourism in rural places.

Live Love App to create a guide of everything to see and do based on the highly curated Live Love photos.

When the 2020 explosion happened, Live Love set up to Rebuild Beirut.

Our team grew from a dozen of people to 52 full timers.

We raised over $4m in grants over 3 years for Beirut.

We distributed over 2,000 medication boxes, and 53 tons of food donations.

Built over 200 homes for more than 1,000 displaced people.
Live Love is a place where we face environmental and humanitarian problems around us with concrete actions.

Where we ask ourselves, if not us, then who?

Where we use our skills and creativity to build products and solutions for civil society to adopt, when there is no infrastructure around us.

We've partnered with world-class organizations such as UN Habitat, GIZ and the EU

And brands such as Adidas, Audi and Unilever.

Our media channels get 1.5 billion impressions per year.

If you feel helpless about the state of the world around you, or if you have some time to spare, or some energy to give out acts of love and kindness to mother earth and to those in need…

Then join one of our communities

Or apply to build your own in your city.

Or join our ship.

Get in touch. Get involved.

Let's wake up everyday to give our beautiful world some love.