Since 2013, we have opened three centres in or near refugee camps in Lebanon, each containing a school and a women’s centre. While our main work in these centres is to provide education and vocational training to refugee, we also provide other services such as distribution of aid.
We run three centres for refugees in Lebanon, each containing a school and a training centre for women:
- Our flagship Bukra Ahla (“A Better Tomorrow”) centre near the Shatila camp in Beirut;
- A second centre near the refugee camps in Arsal in the Bekaa Valley;
- A third centre in the Ouzai settlement in Saida, opened in 2017.
In each of our two education centres in Lebanon, we run a core programme of remedial education for young refugees, who would otherwise miss out on a key part of their early learning. The children need this programme to prepare them for entry tests to the Lebanese public school system, which will be a crucial element in building their future.
We also run educational support programmes for older children, as well as awareness sessions and psychological support for children and young people.
We run vocational training and psychological support programmes in our two women’s centres.
Many of the women who come to our centres have lost a husband or a father, and need to make the difficult transition to becoming a breadwinner as well as a carer. For the same reasons, many younger women are vulnerable to early marriage.
Our courses are designed provide these women, young and old, with the skills and psychological tools to make a new life for themselves.
Outside of our centres, we also undertake a number of complementary activities and projects aimed at alleviating the burden of refugees in Lebanon.
We follow up the training and education provided in our centres with awareness sessions for mothers, on such topics as childcare, protection, health and hygiene, while we also organise home visits to gain a better understanding of the particular living situation and needs of each of our beneficiaries. In a small number of cases, such as when refugees are suffering from violence in their communities and their homes, we manage case studies, and refer these cases to other NGOs who specialise in these areas.
In the camp in Arsal, we run a kitchen, which provides breakfast and lunch for the many who do not have enough food to last the day. We also occasionally provide household items and give cash assistance to the most needy families inside the camps.
We occasionally collect fresh fruit and vegetables from supermarkets (that would otherwise be thrown out) and distribute them in the camps. We regularly organise kermes, or fun days out for children, which occasionally include plays put on by the children, in addition to the usual face painting, games, clown shows and so on. We encourage and organise meetings between Syrians and Lebanese citizens, in order to foster cross-cultural dialogue and proper integration.
LEBANON VOLUNTEER PROGRAMME
We are grateful for the invaluable contributions of the many volunteers in our centres in Beirut and Arsal in 2015. For the 2016/17 academic year, we have launched a new programme for international volunteers to join our centre in Beirut, to teach the children in the schools and help out with the rest of our activities in the centres.