Starting over Lebanon
07 March 2008
Livelihood Rehabilitation Reaches Tiny Villages of
“I stayed for the first 17 days, but then we were obliged to leave because it became too severe,” Yusef said. “There was no electricity, no food, no water.”
For Yusef, who lives with his wife Almaza in their small home on a quiet street in Sarba, the war had already taken its toll on his family. In the first days of the conflict, which started on July 12, 2006, Israeli bombs killed the family cow not far from the El Helou home.
“She was eating in a field and she was hit,” Yusef recalled. “The planes bombed the village so we ran to hide. When we came back, we found the cow had been killed.”
And while such a loss would be serious for many farmers, for Yusef and his wife the death of their cow had devastating repercussions. Dependant almost solely on the cow for their family income, the loss was catastrophic.
“We lived from this cow, because it provides milk that we sell on a daily basis,” Yusef said. “Also, my wife makes yogurt from the milk.”
Returning home on the day of the August 14 ceasefire, Yusef found his home only slightly damaged. But with his cow dead, his main source of income was gone. “I found myself jobless, without any income, without anything,” Yusef said.
Within days of his homecoming, however, Yusef was approached by
“When they were making the survey they found out about our cow,” Yusef said. “In about one month they told me they would be able to help me with a cow, and one month later they brought one.”
Classified as extremely vulnerable by
Aside from help repairing the roads in Sarba,
For Yusef and his wife, who scraped by selling olive oil from a few trees on their property before receiving the cow from
“I will raise this cow and use it for milk, so I will have twice the income,” Yusef said.
Today,Yusef and his wife are able once again to support themselves with the sales of their milk and yogurt. It is a small business, but for the El Helou’s it represents a new beginning after the conflict that gripped Sarba last summer.
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