The "Forgotten" Refugees in Lebanon
Since 1948, some 450,000 Palestinian refugees have registered in Lebanon. More than half of them are living in overcrowded refugee camps surrounded by poor Lebanese communities.
The twelve Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon were meant to provide temporary housing, but nearly 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.
Working for Dignity in Palestinian Refugee Camps
Most of our programs in Lebanon are based in Palestinian refugee camps, and many 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
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 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, or nurses – 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, rational use of medicines, steroid abuse and personal hygiene.
Relief and Rebuilding
Currently, some 45,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria are flowing into overburdened Palestinian camps. In situations like this, 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.