In Lebanon, refugees are not a new phenomenon: As far back as the 1950s, Palestinians sought refuge there. Many of those refugees and their descendants are still stateless today, because they were only provided with temporary residence permits to remain in Lebanon. In recent years, over one million Syrian refugees have arrived additionally in Lebanon.
This situation poses a huge challenge for a country of just five million inhabitants and less than half the size of Belgium. Since the civil war of the 1970s-80s, Lebanon has been politically polarised and is still considered very volatile. For many people, life in the numerous refugee camps has long been a struggle for survival. Out of every ten children, nine are undernourished, and many are depending on the support of international relief organisations.
Since 2013, Johanniter has been working with its partner organisation Naba'a to provide aid in Lebanon. Palestinian-Syrian refugees are provided with hygiene kits and food packages, clothes and shoes. In addition, Johanniter offered families cash assistance or financial support to pay for basic supplies or medical bills.
Emergency aid alone is not enough to help refugees out of their difficult situation in the long term. As a global average, every refugee remains away from their homeland for 17 years. In Lebanon, there is a major risk that young people, as a result of frustration and hopelessness, will be recruited by extremist groups or that they will drift into drug abuse and crime.
Johanniter and its partner organisation Naba'a are striving to offer young people in Palestinian refugee camps new prospects by providing vocational training courses. Many of the refugees have disabilities, which itself is a major barrier to finding work. Counsellors help them refine their skills and balance their career aspirations with local job opportunities. The goal is to give these young people better access to the Lebanese job market by offering them career prospects through training, so they can support their families and take part in working life. The rights of people with disabilities can be consolidated by campaigns and lobbying, resulting in barrier-free access to jobs and more awareness of their plight.
To get an overview about our activities in Middle East, please take a look at this brochure
Know more about our activities in Syria here