Strengthening solidarity among Lebanese Communities hosting Syrian refugees
In response to the Syrian crisis and the increasing influx of Syrian displaced to Lebanon, UNDP supports Lebanese hosting communities struggling to cope with the tremendous additional burden in an already harsh socio-economic environment. Wadi Khaled, a village North Lebanon, is considered as the poorest village in Lebanon, even after the Inhabitants received their Lebanese nationality in 2004. Recently, 90% of Syrian families are living in Lebanese homes, due to the lack of refugee camps in Wadi Khaled. 500 Syrian families, living with hosts, are not registered refugees.
- Members of the municipality were pleased with UNDP’s training session. They believed that UNDP provided them with effective communication, which was broken two years ago with different institutions, even when facing national institutions.
“Our traditions are to host our neighbours”, says Wadi Khaled’s municipality leader. He adds, “Eight people from Wadi Khaled have died since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, which is because we have no form of protection whatsoever.”The United Nations Development programme has organized a training session between the members of Wadi Khaled’s municipality on crisis handling and resolution.During the meeting with media reporters, each member expressed his concern. It is agreed upon that the crisis is economic in nature. Wadi Khaled is a peaceful community, free of crimes. The problems caused by Syrian crisis are unemployment, poor living conditions, no electricity, and the increase of prices.
The municipality’s role is to direct the population in terms of social issues, however it has limited power because of the lack of resources.During the training session, members of the municipality were trained on skills such as proper administration, research studies, and how to cooperate with the funding organizations in order to achieve developmental projects.Berri Khalaf, municipality leader of Al Fard village, believes that UNDP helped municipalities manage their communication with international organizations. “The UNDP had a developmental role. Before the assistance of UNDP, we were lacking managerial skills, we now have the capabilities to formulate and implement a developmental project.”Berri adds: “We now have the abilities of conflict resolution, information analysis, and to translate the true needs.”
Members of the municipality were pleased with UNDP’s training session. They believed that UNDP provided them with effective communication, which was broken two years ago with different institutions, even when facing national institutions. They believe that UNDP provided them with efficient and practical ways to solve conflicts and clashes.The United Nations Development Programme also initiated its Strengthening Civil Peace project in Lebanon in 2010, even before Syrian crisis. Today, the project covers eight schools. UNDP has provided new seats, toys, a theatre, and audiovisual. A chemistry Lab will be available for middle school students at the end of June 2013 as well.Teachers have been undergoing training sessions for equal treatment of their Lebanese as well as Syrian students.Roudayna, a teacher at Al Amayer Public school says : “I took the training and benefited a lot, with problem-solving skills, creating group-work activities to involve both Lebanese and Syrians.”She adds: “Syrian students were feeling isolated because they were being made fun of. The training helped us teach the children to become closer and get along better than before”.While visiting the schools and interacting with the students, cooperation was apparent.
Safa, 8 years, believes that they are all like siblings and she loves all her classmates equally. Her classmate Khaled agrees, and adds that he wants to become a doctor so he can help that in need and save lives.