The war in Syria, which began in 2011, has generated a social, political, economic and humanitarian crisis in the Middle East that has affected not only Syria but also the countries that have taken in refugees from the conflict. One and a half million fleeing refugees have settled in Lebanon, with a major impact for the country, which has a very large number of refugees relative to the national population. The massive arrival of refugees has destabilized Lebanon’s already fragile social services: schools, hospitals, water and electricity supply services, waste collection and management have been severely impacted, quickly reaching the limits of their capacity. Thousands of Syrian families live in overcrowded homes. Thousands of Syrian families live in overcrowded houses. One-third of the families referred to Fratelli services live in abandoned buildings used by refugees, where housing conditions are very difficult due to overcrowding, poor infrastructure conditions, and inadequate services, as well as the continuous threat of eviction by government authorities. In this context, the situation of refugee families is difficult: the unemployment rate is very high, economic income is almost zero; housing and social conditions generate numerous conflicts within and between families; incidents of violence, especially against women and children, are widespread; early marriages, child labor, many young people do not attend school, the situation of uncertainty extends to all aspects of life and is aggravated by the inability to obtain documents that guarantee legal residence in the country. At the macroeconomic level, the crisis that hit Lebanon hard in the fall of 2019 led to a gradual devaluation of the Lebanese lira against the dollar. Banks severely restricted access to cash, and the population saw their savings drastically reduced due to the devaluation. According to the World Bank, before the August 2020 Beirut attacks, half of Lebanon’s population was already living below the poverty line. Commodities began to become scarce, due to the lack of foreign currency, in a country that imports 80 percent of its consumption; food prices increased by 60 percent.
AIM OF THE PROGRAMME:
The Fratelli Project involves two congregations, Marist and Lasallian, and is an integrated/holistic way to ensure that all boys and girls have equal opportunities for a better future through individualized education and support. This is why we focus on serving marginalized groups who would otherwise not have the opportunity to access the services we offer, in a familiar and welcoming environment. The solution proposed by the project is to offer the most vulnerable socio-educational support aimed at providing them with the basic level to have the opportunity to access the Lebanese public education system. Starting from an approach based on children’s rights, considering primary and urgent needs, the project ensures these children a safe and favorable environment where they can express themselves, find psycho-social support, learn and develop skills for their progressive autonomy. Concretely, the programs the project offers are:
- Early childhood education and development
- Basic literacy and numeracy
- Youth empowerment
- Nutrition support and response to basic needs
- Program for mothers and children
Children, therefore, are in a position to: – learn to live together despite the differences that are strongly felt in the current context of the region – develop their oral language and begin to discover scriptures, numbers; – learn through play; – express their creativity through art and music; – build positive relationships with other children and adults; – provoke in children a desire to go to school.
The preparatory preparation for school that Fratelli provides is intended to: – enable children to integrate into the Lebanese public system by supporting and accompanying them in overcoming their difficulties, including language, math, and science; – through the presence of the psychologist, help displaced children and their families to overcome the trauma associated with violence and exile, as well as their current uncertain status in Lebanon; – enable children and youth to build their personalities, gain confidence, and learn to meet, communicate, and live with others through school activities (arts, sports, team games). In addition to action with children, Fratelli seeks to engage caregivers and support them toward positive parenting during parent assembly sessions or for specific cases on a weekly basis, joining efforts with local experts.
Photos: Marco Amato / Fratelli Project
THE PROGRAMME IN BRIEF:
Fleeing conflict and persecution, Syrian and Iraqi refugee children in Lebanon remain culturally and linguistically isolated and educationally disadvantaged. The Fratelli program grows stable and diverse communities, welcomes pluralism and promotes peace by intentionally blending Christians and Muslims, girls and boys, Shiite and Sunni, Syrians, Iraqis and Lebanese through holistic education. With a results-oriented approach, Fratelli builds social inclusion, helps overcome trauma, strengthens studies and promotes strong social, emotional and moral development through its various programs, which serve over 1,000 people (children and young adults). Fratelli has become an important bridge between the refugee and Lebanese communities. Extracurricular programs include language classes, preschool classes to qualify refugee children for Lebanese schools, counseling, nutrition, sports, socialization programs, summer camps, gender-specific health classes, childcare, and livelihood opportunities. The programs were designed to achieve the following outcomes: reduced dropouts; improved school performance; greater acceptance of different ethnicities and religious beliefs; support for trauma rehabilitation; improved socialization; higher elementary school acceptance rates; support for female empowerment; and assistance for children with emotional problems.
THE PROGRAMME IN NUMBERS:
- 900 Male beneficiaries for three project years
- 1002 Female beneficiaries for three project years
- 1800 Male indirect beneficiaries for three project years
- 1902 Female indirect beneficiaries for three project years
OTHER DIRECT CATEGORIES:
- 900 Male Refugees and internally displaced for three project years
- 1002 Female Refugees and internally displaced for three project years
- 900 Boys under 18
- 1002 Girls under 18
OTHER INDIRECT CATEROGORIES:
- 1800 Male Refugees and internally displaced for three project years
- 1902 Female Refugees and internally displaced persons for three project years
- 1800 Boys under 18
- 1902 Girls under 18
SDGs: 4, 5, 10
Laudato Sì Goals: 2