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Yara, a participant in our cash assistance program, holds her son Ramee, 2, in front of her makeshift shelter in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

© RI

Yara, a participant in our cash assistance program, holds her son Ramee, 2, in front of her makeshift shelter in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

RI

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Middle East

Lebanon

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FRAGILITY RANKING

44th out of 178 countries


Overview

As crises persist across the Middle East, more than a quarter of Lebanon’s population is now made up of refugees, including an estimated 1.5 million from Syria. In this country of 6.1 million, one in six people is a refugee – the highest concentration per capita of refugees in the world.

Since the onset of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Lebanon has taken in an estimated 1.5 million Syrians as they fled their homes for safety across the border. The influx of Syrian refugees has added significant strain on the country’s economy, infrastructure and resources, which were already fragile prior to the crisis. The protracted refugee crisis in Lebanon has pushed thousands of refugees and their host communities into extreme poverty – all of which takes a punishing toll on their long-term health and well-being.

Relief International started working in Lebanon more than a decade ago, delivering humanitarian aid to communities caught in the middle of the 2006 war. Following the 34-day conflict, we devoted our efforts to building the local economies of resource-strapped communities by establishing small businesses and investing in dairy farming, cash crops, and other industries that held unmet market potential.

As people began fleeing the war in Syria, we expanded our programs to support refugees and the Lebanese communities that host them. Relief International works in the North, the Bekaa, Mount Lebanon, and Beirut and in the isolated border region of Arsal to provide critical healthcare, education, and cash support.

We provide life-saving healthcare services to both Lebanese residents and Syrian refugees. For many, consultation fees remains one of the greatest barriers to healthcare. This reality has prompted us to subsidize these costs and provide technical support to local health facilities to ensure these vulnerable populations receive the highest quality of care.

The hardships Syrian refugees and local Lebanese populations experienced has left its mark. Relief International is currently the largest provider of mental health services in Arsal, which witnessed some of the most intense fighting of the Syrian conflict. We are also the only organization delivering these specialized mental health services in Qa’a, Bekaa, an isolated area with close proximity to the Syrian border. Through our team of local volunteers, social workers and professional clinical psychologists, we have conducted 21,475 consultations across Lebanon in 2018. We also offer these services to homebound elderly Lebanese and Syrian refugees who are unable to visit our medical centers.

As living conditions deteriorate, our teams are working to mitigate the impacts of extreme poverty on the lives of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees and Lebanese households, including families with multiple children, people with disabilities, and female-headed households. We have supported thousands of families with unconditional cash assistance, empowering them to provide for their most urgent needs such as food, rent and healthcare. Immediate needs often take priority over education when funds are so limited, which is why we’ve launched an innovative cash assistance program to ensure refugee families in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley can afford to keep their children to school.

“The level of poverty in Lebanon is overwhelming. Without formal refugee camps, displaced Syrians live in cramped apartments, abandoned buildings and tents in open fields,” shares Relief International Program Manager Sandra Nakhle.

“As the Syrian crisis continues, these conditions are taking a toll on the physical and mental well-being of refugees and the Lebanese communities that support them,” she says. “Our programs offer the most vulnerable people paths for supporting themselves and their families as well as the resources, networks and support they need to weather this difficult chapter in their lives.”


Our 2018 Impact in Lebanon
8.5K
people directly supported through our health program, which provides comprehensive healthcare as well as specialized mental health services.
500
Syrian refugee children enrolled in school through our Cash for Education program.
980
vulnerable Syrian refugees and Lebanese households supported with unconditional cash assistance.

Stories From Lebanon

Learn more about our work in Lebanon from our staff and program participants.

Lebanon

Cash Assistance Helps Meet Syrian Refugees’ Most Urgent Needs

Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley shelters more than 350,000 Syrian refugees, 71% of whom live below the poverty line. Syrian refugee, Yara, who receives cash assistance from Relief International, tells her story.

READ MORE

Lebanon

Displaced and Distressed: Delivering Mental Health Support in Arsal, Lebanon

Asmaa, 33, and Mariam, 61, live a five-minute drive away from one another in the small Lebanese border town of Arsal. They have never met, but they have more in common than just the town where they live.

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Lebanon

My Job as a Relief International Volunteer

The hillsides of Arsal still bear physical reminders of the intense fighting that spilled across the Lebanese border with Syria. Marked with scorch marks and half-destroyed buildings, the town has seen better days. For Arsal’s local residents and its Syrian refugee population, both communities carry hidden scars.

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Lebanon

Cash for Education Keeps Refugees in School

Mustafa Al Sayyah, 13, was forced to abandon his education when he became a refugee. Now, he works to earn tips at a local vegetable shop in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Relief International’s Cash for Education program is working to make sure that other Syrian refugees living in Lebanon don’t have to do the same.

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Randa holds her son Jasem, 2, in front of her makeshift shelter in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Elie Gardner/RI

Lebanon

Cash Assistance Helps Meet Syrian Refugees’ Most Urgent Needs

Relief International Social Worker Fatima Abdul Wahed hosts a one-on-one session with Aasma in her home. Elie Gardner/RI

Lebanon

Displaced and Distressed: Delivering Mental Health Support in Arsal, Lebanon

Iman walks through the informal tent settlement where she lives in Arsal, Lebanon. Elie Gardner/RI

Lebanon

My Job as a Relief International Volunteer

Twelve-year-old Rahim Al Sayyah participates in Relief International’s Cash for Education program in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Elie Gardner/ RI.

Lebanon

Cash for Education Keeps Refugees in School

Randa holds her son Jasem, 2, in front of her makeshift shelter in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Elie Gardner/RI
Relief International Social Worker Fatima Abdul Wahed hosts a one-on-one session with Aasma in her home. Elie Gardner/RI
Iman walks through the informal tent settlement where she lives in Arsal, Lebanon. Elie Gardner/RI
Twelve-year-old Rahim Al Sayyah participates in Relief International’s Cash for Education program in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Elie Gardner/ RI.
Randa holds her son Jasem, 2, in front of her makeshift shelter in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Elie Gardner/RI

Cash Assistance Helps Meet Syrian Refugees’ Most Urgent Needs

Relief International Social Worker Fatima Abdul Wahed hosts a one-on-one session with Aasma in her home. Elie Gardner/RI

Displaced and Distressed: Delivering Mental Health Support in Arsal, Lebanon

Iman walks through the informal tent settlement where she lives in Arsal, Lebanon. Elie Gardner/RI

My Job as a Relief International Volunteer

Twelve-year-old Rahim Al Sayyah participates in Relief International’s Cash for Education program in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Elie Gardner/ RI.

Cash for Education Keeps Refugees in School

Lebanon. Elie Gardner/RI
Featured Project

Delivering Home-Based Care for Lebanon's Elderly Population

Relief International operates one of the only programs in Lebanon dedicated entirely to the care of the elderly, who are among the most vulnerable in fragile settings.

Donate to Relief International

Make a difference today

With a gift to Relief International, you can help deliver safe drinking water. You can help provide healthcare to displaced families, far from home. You can help ensure girls and boys alike receive an education, which in turn creates paths towards employment. This all starts with you.

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