The Karm al-Zaytun embellishment project, started in 1997, thanks to the initiative of two sponsoring banks and Help Lebanon, a local humanitarian NGO.
The local community of Karm al-Zaytun, composed of migrant workers, refugees and low income families, painted the dull street facades of their houses with the help of professional workers, using bright colored patterns designed by volunteer artists and architects. The first neighborhood to be embellished was the south village, which acquired trompe l'oeil panels in yellow and pink.
Based on the success of the first neighborhood upgrade, Help Lebanon, was able to acquire additional funds to upgrade the remaining neighborhoods of Karm al-Zaytun. The west village was painted in yellow and blue. The north neighborhood was painted recently based on the designs of an Argentinean artist. The embellishment project has given a bright appearance to these neighborhoods lining a hill, prompting the governor of Beirut to name it "Tallat al-Sununu", or, Swallows' Hill.
From a small NGO targeting specific neighborhoods, Help Lebanon turned to a national organization appreciated by municipalities and the Lebanese government. It has been commissioned several municipal and neighborhood projects in the country.