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Lebanon - Theresia

Theresia, a volunteer with Caritas Lebanon, working to support victims of the explosions in Beirut. 

CAFOD has been supporting partners in Lebanon since the 1980s. Lebanon is a small country, half the size of Wales, which for years has been hosting over a million Syrian refugees and a substantial Palestinian refugee community.

Why CAFOD works in Lebanon

A financial and political crisis in Lebanon has been worsening since 2019, and has seriously exacerbated Lebanon’s difficulties – all on top of having to cope with first Covid-19 and then the Beirut port explosions. Fifty per cent of the population lives below the poverty line.  

On 4 August 2020 two explosions in the port of Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut sent an enormous shockwave across the city, killing over 200 people and leaving more than 6,000 injured. Even now, the damage remains massive and people are still traumatised. Many people not only lost their homes, but also their livelihoods.

Read more about CAFOD's response to the Beirut explosions

What is life like for refugees living in Lebanon?

Syrian refugees in Lebanon have been pushed to the edge of survival. Most Syrians are denied legal residency or the right to work. In their efforts to get by, many will take any job available, however low paid or dangerous. In addition, they put up with unhealthy, substandard accommodation, and even withdraw their children from school to send them out to work. Human rights abuses against Syrian refugees have multiplied over the years.

Palestinian refugees have been in Lebanon since 1948, when hundreds of thousands fled the conflict that followed the foundation of the state of Israel. Decades later their descendants are still living as refugees. Most live in overcrowded, poor conditions in 12 official refugee camps. They are prevented from working in many sectors and can't access public services. Around half the estimated 28,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria who have fled to Lebanon have also settled in the camps, putting even further strain on Palestinian host communities.

Our work in Lebanon

CAFOD works with Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian communities, supporting those most affected by the multiple crises in Lebanon.

Our support to partners includes work on:

  • the rights of women and girls and prevention of violence

  • social empowerment, especially for women and young people, so they can become active contributors to a better future for everyone

  • dignified and sustainable livelihoods, including vocational training and support to access employment

  • the creation of spaces for dialogue and bridge-building between communities

  • self care for frontline workers and volunteers.

We are working towards a strong, vibrant and diverse civil society in Lebanon, and the safety and wellbeing of all people, so they can be safe from harm and access shelter, nutrition, education, health and clean water.