Syria: Hospitality in Lebanon

In all these places the Jesuit Refugee Service JRS tries to help in a situation where tension is growing more and more. “We are a very small country with a little over 4 million inhabitants and have shown hospitality to about 2 million refugees. But how should we provide schools, work, food and energy for so many?” Salman Abbas (Area Manager, BIOMIN) sees the difficulties the country is going to face in the near future. The people really need help from outside as well as future perspectives.

We count on education for women. We support the social centers of JRS, which help them achieve more independence. “Just being able to talk about our problems at home in a protected environment is a great help.” Language, computer, sewing, hairdressing courses – all is directed towards more independence and a better future.

We visited some women in tents and in their simple rooms. Everything is clean, but very basic. Disabled children, sick children, an injured husband – very often men have been injured or even killed and have stayed behind in Syria. “There is hardly any money left, we cannot pay for the room, we cannot afford it anymore. We get into debts to be able to survive here.”

In these desperate situations we provide for the future of these people together with JRS. They are providing more than 3,000 children and young people with education: from kindergarten to 6th grade. We have seen so much joy in the eyes of these school children in these most basically equipped classrooms. The schoolyard means freedom for them and holds the possibility for development. “All these children have either experienced violence themselves or at least seen others commit cruel acts of violence on other people.” Both the war trauma and domestic violence are present all the time when you are a refugee.

Our support of the JRS projects make a lot of sense: Educating women and children refugees in the tense predicament which they find themselves in Lebanon brings real hope to the people.