Life after Syria

By |25 October 2012|

“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 […]

100,000 Syrians in Lebanon face hardship as winter looms

By |24 October 2012|

As the fighting intensifies throughout Syria, thousands of refugees continue to pour over the border. According to the latest figures from UNHCR (the UN refugee agency), there are 100,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon registered and over double that figure not registered.

“I see more people and more despair,” says Hombline Dulière, a social worker for Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center. “At the beginning of the summer most of the refugees I met thought they would be back in Syria in a matter of weeks. Now, for many people, the realisation that the situation will last longer, affects them deeply,” she said.

Caritas staff and its volunteers are working around the clock to provide assistance to the refugees. However, as winter approaches, living conditions are getting precarious.

Najla Chahda, director of Caritas Migrant Center, says, “Temperatures in the Bekaa Valley at night are around 8 degrees Celsius. In the coming weeks they will drop […]

Pope presence in Lebanon lit candle for peace

By |25 September 2012|

Pope Benedict XVI said he had gone to Lebanon and to the Middle East as a “pilgrim of peace”. Over the next three days, he would return to the same theme of peace in the troubled region in every speech he delivered.

President of Caritas Lebanon Father Simon Faddoul, reflecting on the visit, said, “The Pope was a messenger of peace to an area that is in a state of continuous war. His presence in Lebanon could bring conflicting parties closer.”

The Pope came to deliver the Apostolic Exhortation – the fruit of the Synod for the Middle East.
“In this Exhortation, the Pope invites the Christians to act as citizens of the land by living out their citizenship fully,” said Fr Faddoul. “And invites the Muslims to accept differences in multi-religious societies.”

The pope’s visit served as a showcase for Lebanon, which for years was a model of peaceful coexistence and religious […]

Syrian refugees in Lebabon: A Caritas Lebanon film

By |12 September 2012|

Syrian refugees: ‘Caritas gave us hope’

By |5 September 2012|

By Shahera Khader Maria Abou Diman, a 28-year-old social worker in charge of Caritas Lebanon’s center in Taalabaya (Bekaa Valley), sits outside her office on a plastic white chair. Around her are faces filled with anxiety, hunger and exhaustion. An 80-year-old woman stands directly beside her. She hands Abou Diman her I.D. Her hands, filled with rivers of deep wrinkles, are shaking uncontrollably. She pierces Abou Diman with her mournful eyes. “How can I help you?” Abou Diman asks the woman. “I need more blankets, please, my daughter is cold and hungry,” the woman said. Others crowd around Aboud Diman, telling her their own names and what they need. Abou Diman pulls a chair up for the old woman and motions for her to take a seat. The Caritas Lebanon migrant center’s social worker stands and wipes the drops of sweat off her forehead; she has been receiving Syrian refugees […]

Syria: a people in flight

By |10 August 2012|

Since 2011, violence in Syria has forced thousands of people to leave their homeland, with a huge wave of refugees pouring into Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. Caritas is giving refugees food, medical care, and emergency items. 

Q&A: Syrian refugee crisis

By |10 August 2012|

Why are so many people fleeing Syria? 

A conflict between government and anti-government forces in Syria has escalated sharply since early 2011. Aerial bombardments, shooting on the streets, sniper attacks, and other types of violence have hurt thousands of Syrian civilians. Many Syrians were hiding in their homes for months, unable to work or go to school, before they decided to flee to other countries to escape the violence.

Most Syrians remain in their country. Some have been displaced and face the same challenges that Syrian refugees abroad face. Caritas is providing food in Aleppo and Homs, mainly for displaced people.

Where are the Syrian refugees going? 

The refugees are primarily fleeing to the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Some Iraqi refugees who were living in Syria have now fled back to Iraq.

Where do the refugees live? 

Some refugee families are living in apartments or old buildings, often crowding into very small […]

Fleeing Syria: refugee parents tell their stories

By |3 August 2012|

Available in French By Laura Sheahen, Caritas Communications Officer “We’d move from neighbour to neighbour to escape the bombing,” says Ahmed, a father of six from the Syrian city of Homs. As civil war in his country escalated, he watched buildings bombarded and people injured or killed. “There came a moment when I looked at my children and thought, ‘nothing matters but them.’ I knew we had to leave.” If they only had themselves to worry about, thousands of Syrian parents might take their chances and stay in their country even as bombs drop and snipers fire. “If it were not for my children, I would never have left Syria. I should be there,” says Ahmed. Instead, he took his family to Jordan. Ilham, an epileptic mother of six, was shot in the leg by a sniper. But for several months after, she remained in Syria. “I didn’t want to […]

Mobile clinic visits Syrian refugee children

By |2 August 2012|

Available in French Tens of thousands of people have fled Syria to escape bombardments and shooting. Now living in cramped, unsanitary conditions in neighbouring countries, some refugees are falling ill. Doctor Simon Kolanjian is a pediatrician who travels in a Caritas Lebanon mobile clinic to treat refugee children. He spoke with Caritas Communications Officer Laura Sheahen about what he’s seen since the clinic on wheels started in May 2012. How are Syrian refugee children doing? The children are malnourished. They come to us and they’re weak and thin. A lot of kids have diarrhea. The water isn’t clean. I tell them to boil it. We need to tell them how to use water. The infections go up in summer. We can’t keep giving them antibiotics if the water’s bad. We must address the root cause. There are also upper respiratory infections, lice, fungal infections. How many kids do you usually […]

Syrian refugee crisis: a ‘human flood’ into Lebanon

By |24 July 2012|

Since 2011, violence in Syria has forced thousands of people from their homes. In mid-July 2012, the conflict worsened rapidly and a huge wave of refugees poured into Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.

On July 24, Father Simon Faddoul, the head of Caritas Lebanon, spoke with Caritas Internationalis about the plight of the new refugees in his country. 

The situation has deteriorated rapidly in the past week. Can you tell us what’s happening now? 

The past five days have been extremely dangerous to the people of Syria. People are fleeing the war and coming to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Here in Lebanon, it’s been like a human flood over the border from Damascus. In 24 hours we had, at one time last week, over 15,000 people enter at one legal border crossing. If you count all the rest who come in other ways, it’s far more. They’re arriving in cars, trucks, buses, and […]

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    As Syrian refugee crisis grows, Caritas aids families in Lebanon and Jordan

As Syrian refugee crisis grows, Caritas aids families in Lebanon and Jordan

By |20 July 2012|

As violence in Syria worsens, Caritas continues to aid refugees as they stream into the neighbouring countries of Jordan and Lebanon.

In Jordan, Caritas is distributing food and essential items like diapers to hundreds of Syrian families in Mafraq and Zarqa. Caritas Jordan also arranged a free one-week medical campaign for Syrian refugees to provide blood pressure, sugar level, and ultrasound tests, in addition to consultations and medication.

In Lebanon, many Syrian refugees are living with host families who are already struggling to make ends meet. There are concerns that Lebanese communities hosting Syrian refugees have reached their limit and cannot absorb more. In northern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley, job opportunities are already inadequate and living spaces are scarce. The addition of tens of thousands of Syrians seeking work has only increased the pressure on these areas.

Caritas Lebanon is providing food parcels with rice, lentils, beans, tuna and more to […]

Conflict in Syria

By |26 April 2012|

An uprising against the Syrian government and the President Bashar al-Assad has left 9000 people dead since fighting broke out in March 2011.

Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes. Many have sought safety in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, others remain in Syria.

Conditions within Syria and for the refugees who have fled are bleak. They need food, shelter and medical assistance. Children need educational support and adults don’t have access to employment.

Caritas staff members are providing aid both within Syria and to those refugees who have fled in Jordan and Lebanon. Caritas Turkey is also willing to respond.

Pope Benedict’s Holy Thursday Mass collection went to Caritas Syria for humanitarian assistance to Syrian’s forced from their homes because of the conflict.

“Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for […]

Be a successful fundraiser

By |27 March 2012|

By Nigel Wallace, Caritas Internationalis Director of Income Development Caritas Lebanon is very fortunate to have Fr. Simon Faddoul as its president. The charismatic priest and his enthusiastic team are dedicated to Caritas and helping the thousands of local people, migrants and refugees who rely on their support and aid. Caritas is far reaching with 36 geographic sectors throughout the country and 9 mobile clinics offering diverse services and programmes. Currently, much of their work is emergency response helping those fleeing from the crisis in Syria. While Fr. Faddoul has been twisting arms of the wealthy in parishes and beyond to support the work of Caritas, there has been ever increasing recognition of the need to integrate the spontaneous generosity that already exists with a more sophisticated fundraising strategy to meet growing financial demands. I recently had the pleasure to visit Caritas Lebanon to facilitate a 2-day fundraising workshop to […]

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    Caritas in Lebanon and Jordan doing more to help Syrian refugees

Caritas in Lebanon and Jordan doing more to help Syrian refugees

By |23 March 2012|

By Patrick Nicholson Syrian refugees continue to flee into neighbouring Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. They’re trying to escape fighting between government and opposition forces that began last March. Caritas members in the region are looking to respond to the growing needs of the refugees. Living conditions are difficult. Hamid* brought his wife and children from Tal Kalakh in Syria to Wadi Khaled just across the border in northern Lebanon as soon as fighting started in March 2011. He said he feared that the situation would go from “bad to very bad” because of sectarianism and thought it safer to leave while he could. His family of six have lived for six months in one of the rooms of an old abandoned school building. Fifteen families live in the school. The rooms are tiny, damp and cold. His wife couldn’t cope so she went home at one point. “I would have […]

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    Alem’s life is over, but her story is not: ending domestic worker abuse in Lebanon

Alem’s life is over, but her story is not: ending domestic worker abuse in Lebanon

By |22 March 2012|

Recently, a viral video showing the abuse of an Ethiopian migrant in Lebanon shocked those who saw it. The Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center (CLMC) has worked with abused housemaids for years and sends us this timeline in the life of Alem, who was known to CLMC staff. By Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center Staff Like over 200,000 migrant women in Lebanon, Alem Dechasa-Desisa, a 33-year-old Ethiopian, made the difficult choice to leave her family and two children, and come to Lebanon as a housemaid to improve her family’s living conditions. Unlike many women who are able to realise this dream, Alem faced the harsh reality that some domestic migrant workers experience in Lebanon. In the video, Alem’s employment agent showed publically, in the streets of Beirut, the same treatment that some employers keep secret and hidden. Before LBCI news released the video on 8 March, the International Woman’s Day, the TV […]

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