Zeina’s journey as an activist goes back to the mid 80’s when she volunteered with many civil actors to deal with the critical social challenges resulting from the long years of war in Lebanon. Her volunteering experience added to the 9 years of professional work with UNICEF in Lebanon and then as an international staff serving in Yemen have exposed her to regional and international children’s rights issues with a special focus on child protection.
As of 2003, she managed, for 7 years, a national organization offering alternative care services with 140 staff and more than 3000 beneficiaries. Her focus was on regulating alternative care in Lebanon to prevent separation from the biological parents unless it is deemed necessary in the light of the child’s best interests. Her initiative on de-institutionalization was recognized by the UN Study on Violence against Children as a best practice to prevent child abandonment.
Zeina contributed to the formulation of the International Guidelines on Children without Parental Care and led a regional initiative to formulated Arab Guidelines for Alternative Care and many other articles and advocacy instruments.
Her most recent achievement is the organizational restructuring of the alternative care sector in Abu Dhabi, UAE through an action learning approach aiming at building the existing capacity and enhancing leadership competencies including coaching and mentoring.
In 2013, Zeina established Badael-Alternatives http://badael-alternatives.org/ , an NGO based in Lebanon and advocating for the rights to origins for victims of separation from the biological family through child trafficking for illegal adoption and placement into institutional care where children are subject to severe child’s rights violations. The voices of persons who were born in Lebanon and adopted internationally are offered a space to be listened to.
Zeina Ismail Allouche is a holder of a Masters degree in Public Health and a BA in Social Work. She is an Individualized PHD Candidate at Concordia University investigating separation from origins as a colonialistic expression.( http://storytelling.concordia.ca/content/ismail-allouche-zeina )