A week of fighting between militant factions devastated parts of Ein El Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon.
The narrow streets of the camp are full of spent bullets, broken glass and garbage. Checkpoints have been enclosed in mesh for protection.
Yet, there are flickers of hope and desire for change among young refugee girls in Lebanon, thanks in part to a joint program organized by Anera and its partner, Women’s Program Center. More than 25 young girls in Ein El Hilweh have joined the embroidery training sessions to learn new skills that also serve them well at home.
Now, after some creative coordination between Anera and its partners, each girl in the class has been given her own personal towels to embroider and take home.
Refugee Girls Give their Hygiene Kits a Personal Touch
“We delivered around 1,000 hygiene kits to youth in Ein El Helweh during hygiene promotion sessions, thanks to a generous donation from Lutheran World Relief (LWR),” explains explains Dima Zayat, head of Anera’s health department. The kits included two towels, soap, nail clippers, toothpaste, a tooth brush and a hair brush.
Almaza Al Chaaraoui, head of Women’s Program Center in Ein El Helweh camp, says the hygiene kits are a welcome gift for the young girls. “During Anera’s hygiene promotion sessions at our center, we noticed that many young girls don’t have access to personal hygiene items and share towels with their family members.” Almaza worries that it will expose them to infections and viral diseases. “We came up with the idea of embroidering the towels in the hygiene kits so the girls could personalize their towels and learn a new skill at the same time.”
Having a personal towel with a Palestinian pattern is a constant reminder of who I am and where I come from.
Hiba Zaidan couldn’t believe how lovely the decorated towels turned out. The 16-year-old Palestinian girl held her hygiene kit in one hand and needles and pins in the other. “Embroidery is part of our heritage and I believe we have a duty to preserve it,” she smiles with pride. “Having a personal towel with a Palestinian pattern is a constant reminder of who I am and where I come from.”
Anera continues to support its local partners and their creative ideas. “We always adopt holistic methods and approaches in our programs,” explains Dima. “The idea of embroidering towels is the result of good coordination between Anera’s health and education departments and our local partners.”