Palestinian Refugee Camps

The "Forgotten" Refugees in Lebanon

Since 1948, some 450,000 Palestinian refugees have registered in Lebanon. More than half of these refugees that are still in Lebanon are living in overcrowded refugee camps surrounded by poor Lebanese communities. In some of the camps, Syrian refugees have also moved in, adding to the space and resource pressures.

The twelve Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon were meant to provide temporary housing, but 70 years later, hundreds of thousands of stateless Palestinians still live in crumbling camps.

Residents of these Palestinian refugee camps face staggering rates of joblessness, violence and disgraceful housing conditions. They often refer to themselves as “forgotten people” and feel a sense of isolation and neglect. For most, comfort and privacy are elusive luxuries. Young Palestinians have few prospects for finding a job or leading a fulfilling life.

Providing Tools for Success in Palestinian Refugee Camps

Many of our programs in Lebanon are based in Palestinian refugee camps, and some of our staff live in the camps themselves. We work with community-based organizations in the camps to determine the most pressing issues and respond with long-term solutions.

How It Works

  • Building Community

    Anera gives young people the chance to socialize and let off steam in safety through sports programs that range from football tournaments to dabke classes. We build fields, renovate playgrounds and train coaches in conflict management. Community service days, volunteer-led clean-up projects and youth-focused health campaigns bring people together to share in joyful experiences.

  • Educating Youth and Teaching Job Skills

    Through non-formal education, we’re filling major gaps in camp schooling. Our non-formal courses help out-of-school youths learn math, literacy and computer basics. We also offer classes that teach useful job skills and instill confidence, like embroidery and graphic design. Through vocational training and scholarships, Anera helps students attain the skills they need to get jobs as preschool teachers, mechanics, electricians, hairdressers, nurses, and in many other fields – so they can earn a decent income.

  • Medicines and Health Messages

    For decades, Anera has partnered with hundreds of community-based clinics in Lebanon to provide much-needed medicines and medical supplies. Anera delivers antibiotics, chronic diseases medicines, wheelchairs, hospital mattresses, hearing aids and more to charitable medical centers in Palestinian refugee camps. Our community health days and longer-term public health campaigns also teach important messages about nutrition, menstrual health, and preventing infections through good hygiene practices.

  • Relief and Rebuilding

    Since 2011, thousands of Palestinian refugees from Syria moved into the overburdened Palestinian camps. In situations like this when essential needs increase, Anera provides humanitarian relief in the form of hygiene kits, emergency lamps and winter clothes. In the aftermath of destructive conflicts, we help rebuild. After Nahr El Bared camp was destroyed in 2007, Anera rebuilt two vocational training and community centers and established a playground that gave children a safe place to play. Similarly, in the aftermath of the 2006 war in southern Lebanon, we rehabilitated an electricity network in Burj El Shemali camp.

With a population of 30,000, Nahr El Bared camp in North Lebanon faces many challenges. Anera began working in the camp after it was nearly destroyed by armed conflict in 2007.