Click here to download Press Release.

Alfanar hosted a star-studded private reception and screening of the documentary ‘Soufra’ at Beirut Digital District (BDD) on March 4th 2019, to celebrate the impact the film has had within the Burj el Barajneh refugee camp and the work of the social enterprises Alfanar backs in Lebanon.

Alfanar first discovered intrepid social entrepreneur Mariam Al Shaar in Burj el Barajneh in 2012, backing her mission to create much-needed jobs for women in the camp. In the face of many challenges, Alfanar's social investment support enabled Mariam and a group of female refugees to start a successful catering and food truck business, called Soufra.

Mariam's story was so compelling that director Thomas Morgan and executive producer Susan Sarandon brought her journey to the big screen with ‘Soufra’, a documentary film following her and the women of Soufra's efforts to bring opportunity and dignity to their community.

The event, hosted by Alfanar, marked the premiere screening of ‘Soufra’ in Lebanon. In attendance were notable supporters such as Susan Sarandon, Ben Stiller and Nadine Labaki, as well as Her Excellency Australian Ambassador to Lebanon Rebekah Grindlay, and distinguished representatives from organisations such as the UNHCR, UNRWA, UNICEF, BLOM Bank, Strategy&, the British Council, the U.K. Embassy and UNDP. The event brought together over 160 guests from across Lebanon’s civil society, private sector, diplomatic corps and the arts.

Earlier in the day, Susan Sarandon and Thomas Morgan had visited the Burj el Barjneh refugee camp to witness firsthand the education and empowerment Alfanar's social investment in the Soufra kitchen and foodtruck and the newly built and opened Nawras Preschool are delivering in the camp. Through the support of over 1,000 donors as well as proceeds from charitable Soufra documentary screenings and Soufra cookbook sales, the Soufra kitchen is thriving and employing over 40 women while the Nawras preschool will provide crucial early childhood education to 75 at-risk children in the camp each year. Spending time with the children of the preschool and witnessing the impact this investment has had left a lasting impression on Susan Sarandon; "Mariam is a wonderful example of strength, perseverance and humour, and how humble a person can be who is also so strong. I thank you for letting me be a part of this."

Following the screening, Alfanar Executive Director Myrna Atalla, Soufra founder Mariam Al Shaar and film director Thomas Morgan participated in a Q&A moderated by radio host Leyla Nahas, exploring the potential of social investment and documentary film to drive social impact. Other social enterprises within Alfanar’s portfolio were present at the event to showcase their work, including Ana Aqra Association, Inaash, FabricAID, The Little Engineer, MMKN, Natakallam, SE Factory and ShareQ.

Alfanar has played a key part in the growth of the Arab region’s social enterprise ecosystem over the previous 15 years, investing in 31 social enterprises and tangibly improving the lives of over 48,000 vulnerable individuals in Egypt and Lebanon.