“I thank Caritas every day for the assistance we received”

Three months ago, Sanaa gave birth alone in her house, just a few days after arriving in Lebanon from Syria. She, her husband and their two young children ran away from heavy shelling .They are from Hama and did not know anyone in Lebanon.

“We had no money to eat and we got scared for the children,” she said. “We know the situation will not get better soon in Syria”.

A few years ago, her husband had an accident. Since then, he cannot move his right hand and has severe memory loss. Sometimes, he does not recognise his own wife. Despite this disability, he found a job as a gardener. But the salary is low and they cannot even afford nappies for their new born.

The family was referred to Caritas Lebanon by a former municipality member in the Bekaa. They had never heard of Caritas before coming to the office. “I wanted milk and nappies for my baby, medical assistance for my husband and food” she admitted. Although Caritas could not meet all her expectations – the family received a food kit, bed sheets, blankets, towels and one hygiene kit and were told about the mobile clinic.

Sanaa remains deeply grateful. “I thank Caritas every day for the assistance we received” she said with a smile.

Bitten by rats

Mohammed lives with 25 members of his family in Lebanon’s Bekka valley. They all fled the shelling and fighting between the rebels and the army in Hama a few months ago.

“The situation became too dangerous because deserters from Homs hide in Hama. So we decided to leave,” Mohammed tells the Caritas social worker conducting the home visit.

For LL 400,000 (US $260) per month they live in two dilapidated houses in unsanitary conditions. One month ago, 2 children (7 months old and 2 years old) and their mother were bitten by rats at night. Even though they did not have any money to see a doctor, the closest hospital treated them for free.

Notwithstanding their poor living conditions in Lebanon, they do not want to go back to Syria before the situation improves. “I don’t want to go to back to the border even when our visas expire,” he says.

Mohammed’s family will be able to stay in Lebanon until the situation calms down in Syria, the government is committed to not arresting Syrians for illegal overstay. But in order to carry on until they can return, they sought Caritas’ assistance and received food kits, blankets, bed sheets and pillowcase.

Child health

Last June, Raghida decided to leave Syria with her 7 children as life became impossible there. “We hoped that the battle would stop, so we waited . But it got worse,” she said.

When everyone started leaving she followed. She is now living with her children in a tent along with another Syrian family, in precarious conditions. They survived thanks to the help and generosity of some Lebanese people and donations.

Later she found out about Caritas through a neighbour, so she went to the centre in the Bekka valley in the hope of getting medicine for her children.“ I cannot stand not being able to give medicine to my children,” she told a Caritas social worker .

Since she has been directed to the Caritas mobile Clinic and is now provided with nursing care and medicine for her family. She also received a food kit, hygiene kit and bed sheets .