Since 2019, Lebanon has been plunged into one of the country's unprecedented economic and social crises. In March 2020, the first default was declared, to which was added the health crisis caused by the Pandemic, and, to make matters worse, the profound damages generated by the explosion at the port of Beirut on 4th August 2020. The pandemic, the monetary and political-institutional crisis have made it a country at the end of its tether. In the last two years, around 7 out of 10 people have slipped below the poverty line: 15% of families decide to stop educating their sons and daughters, 25% cannot access online teaching tools, 30% of children miss at least one meal every day, 60% are in debt to buy food, and 77% do not have enough food on the table (a percentage that rises to 99% in Syrian and Palestinian refugee families).
School drop-out and early marriage rates as well as child labour are on the rise. In this context, thousands of young people have taken to the streets to demand a radical change in the political class, an end to sectarianism and corruption.
From September 2020 to August 2021, Un Ponte Per through the project "InterCommunity: Integration through Education", financed by Otto per Mille of the Evangelical Waldensian Church - Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches, will start a new intervention to assist and support the Palestinian and Syrian refugee population in the camps of Lebanon, absolutely the poorest group of people, marginalized and with fewer opportunities for redemption.
The intervention is particularly focused on education and wellness of minors and adolescents: it guarantees support to the educational centres of the local organization Beit Aftal Assumoud, historical partner of Un Ponte Per, in the Bourj el Shemali camp (Tiro). The project provides non-formal education, sports activities, psychosocial support, "theatre of the oppressed", food education and cultural activities for 130 young people at risk of social exclusion, with the aim of improving the level of psychophysical balance for each of them and creating more opportunities for interaction (and integration) between young Palestinians and Syrians and the host Lebanese community.
The programme also aims at combating school drop-outs through psychological support and sports and educational activities, also oriented to promote a healthy and balanced lifestyle and a healthy diet.
UPP IN LEBANON
Un Ponte Per has been present in Lebanon since 1997. It works mainly in Palestinian refugee camps, to guarantee the right of education and health to Palestinian and Syrian-Palestinian refugee children. Following humanitarian emergencies in the country, UPP has supported its partners in responding to and distributing essential aid. It works alongside local organizations to support the process of rebuilding social cohesion, following the civil war that bloodied the country for 15 years. Since 2017, it has been participating in the first Italian experimentation of Civil Peace Corps, with the presence in Lebanon of young operators who collaborate with local partner NGOs in non-formal education and peacebuilding programmes.
Name: InterCommunity: Integration through Education
Project Sector: Education
Beneficiaries: Palestinian refugees and Lebanese host community
Total duration: September 2020 – August 2021
Project Areas: Bourj el Shemali, Tyre, Lebanon
Partner: Beit Aftal Assumoud
Donor: Otto per Mille of the Waldensian Church