Press Release

Anera Revives Vocational Training Center in Northern Lebanon

August 3, 2009 | Washington, DC – Anera is pleased to announce a $245,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives to rehabilitate vocational training centers for Palestinian and Lebanese youth in and around the Nahr El Bared Camp in northern Lebanon. The project includes rebuilding the training center in the adjacent area of the old camp that was destroyed during three months of fighting there in 2007.

Two Lebanese community organizations based in the camp will partner with Anera to carry out the project. The National Association for Vocational Training and Social Services (NAVTSS) and Beit Atfal Assumoud’s National Institution for Social Care and Vocational Training have worked on vocational training and youth programs in the camp for 30 years.

Anera will help rehabilitate and re-equip the NAVTSS center that will house vocational training programs and host summer recreational activities. Classes will offer training in high-demand skills such as carpentry, aluminum work, nursing, child care, and automotive electronics. The Afaquna Youth Center and multi-purpose workshop will be rebuilt to support youth activities and conflict resolution workshops. The project will support summer and other youth activities to take place within the next six months. In addition, the project will help to equip the Beit Atfal Assumoud computer lab.

“Anera has been eager to rebuild vocational training programs that can better prepare underprivileged Palestinian and Lebanese youth who face a jobless future without appropriate skills,” said John Viste, Anera’s Lebanon Country Director. “The program will reach more than 400 youth each year and will help prepare them to play a productive role in their community. This is an important component of Anera’s overall efforts to support education and youth development in Lebanon.”

More than 433 businesses were directly affected by the 2007 fighting in Nahr El Bared. More than 4,976 jobs were lost. Unemployment is estimated now at 80%, compared to 27% before the outbreak of violence. Under-employment also has been aggravated by the loss of more than half a year of schooling. Many of the most damaged schools have not reopened, increasing the threat of juvenile delinquency, violence and enrollment in militias among school dropouts.

Rehabilitating the youth center will enable Anera and NAVTSS to bring together Palestinian and Lebanese for training in communication skills, conflict resolution techniques, and approaches to peace building. NAVTSS programs also offer career counseling and job placement.