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.