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Since 2011, millions of Syrians have been forced to flee their homes. Lebanon, one of the main hosting countries, has registered 865,530 Syrian refugees, but the actual number is estimated to be 1.5 million. Among them, about 90 per cent live in extreme poverty. They are constantly deprived of basic human rights, such as access to clean water, food, medicine, and shelter. Refugee children face malnutrition, have limited access to education, and are at high risk of child labour.
Meanwhile, Lebanon itself is on the brink of collapse. The financial meltdown and the pandemic have driven more than half of its own population to poverty. Since 2019, food prices in Lebanon have soared, increasing by 400% in two years. Tension between citizens of host countries and refugees have worsened as the competition for resources proceeds. Due to that the government could not cover such a population, the UN and the local and foreign NGOs have been a major force in supporting refugees. Peaceland Foundation is one of them.
In May 2019, in cooperation with Common Future, Peaceland Foundation set up an office in Beirut, Lebanon to begin providing humanitarian assistance to Palestinian and Syrian refugees there.
One of the obstacles for refugee living and working in the host country is language. Most Syrian need to speak English if they look for jobs in Lebanon. Cooperated with Lighthouse Peace Initiative (LPI) and Alsama Studio, from June 2020 to March 2021, we started English classes for youth and young adult in the age group of 11-18 and 15-29, separately. More than 70 students were involved.
During each term, in addition to the language course, we organised various events like seminars (topics like artificial intelligence and self-improvement), and one to one English conversation practice online with our volunteers, to further help them develop practical skills in workplace.
As evidence has shown that cash transfers could facilitate safe transitions to adulthood among vulnerable children/youth in low-income settings, Peaceland Foundation established a cash transfer program in refugee families to prevent child labour and early marriage. From August 2020 to April 2021, we signed agreement with 20 family carefully selected and a monthly transfer of 40 dollars of each would be solely used for children’s health and education.
A Video for our program: https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1xh41117GY
3. Women Empowerment Project
Peaceland Foundation believes that one way to help women fight against a hostile situation is to provide them with income-generating and confidence-boosting skills. Therefore, our women empowerment project aimed to enhance women’s vocational skills by providing sewing course and helping them to set up the e-commerce channel to sell their sewing products in China. To boost sales, we also offer targeted Chinese language courses for them to learn to introduce themselves and their products in Chinese.
The programmes are mainly conducted in Alsama Studio in Burj Barajneh refugee camps in Beirut. So far, around 40 beneficiaries have participated in our projects and have achieved greater economic self-sufficiency and independence.
4. Emergency response to 2020 Beirut Explosion
On 4 August, 2020, when the largest non-nuclear explosions in history pulverised the port of Beirut and damaged more than half of the city, Peaceland Foundation (Lebanese office) immediately dispatched its coordinator to conduct the needs assessment and implementation volunteer work of house repair. We fundraised about 94,500 RMB and repaired 81 houses with our local volunteers, benefitting 453 people.
5. COVID 19 Prevention
Refugees are facing extreme challenges under the lock down policies and the limited medical support. We fundraised about 30,000 RMB for the COVID 19 prevention program. The money was used for Refugee Anti-epidemic Packages, which included daily necessities such as flour, oil, salt, canned meat, and PPEs including masks, hydro-alcoholic solutions, etc. The packages were distributed to 100 refugee families and benefiting 654 people. We also organised the online training to 20 local social workers, so they can help more people.
Peaceland Foundation will continue advocating for the rights of refugees.
Editor: Li Tiange, Zhan Weizhen