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Heart for Lebanon was founded in 2001 and is a faith based ministry that adapts a holistic approach to serving unconditionally the marginalized, rejected and under resourced people in Lebanon, including the increasing number of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
Rather unique among the relief work done in Lebanon, the organization methodology is a three-prong approach to care through transactional, relational and transformational relief.
Transactional relief takes the form of food and hygiene portion distributions to address the needs of all the targeted family members. It also provides practical advice for cleaning water and food in the harsh living conditions the refugees live in, sometimes in the mud, under rain and snow, and without electricity.
It also involves non-formal educational programs for the young refugees. The Children at Risk is a program developed by Heart for Lebanon to address the educational as well as spiritual needs of children at risk through the three Hope Centers where children can learn basic Arabic, English, Sciences and Math, in addition to character development lessons based on biblical principles.
This non-formal education substitutes in some aspects school curricula as almost half of the young Syrian refugees in Lebanon are still without access to education. They have the chance to learn music too in the Beirut based Hope Center. The other two are located in the Bekaa valley and the South. Sometimes children are taken out to have fun in activities such as bowling.
Hope on Wheels program offers the children in camps a safe environment to play and enjoy themselves like all their peers, as the notion of simply being children was taken from them. Children also learn about religious principles through a fun course, reading and writing classes are organized on spot, on ground. It is also an entertaining experience for children in tent communities and break the hardship of being a child and a refugee in a tent.
These programs included Syrian coming from families of variety of ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds that have found themselves as refugees of war and conflict in their homeland, and who are suffering discrimination, marginalization and extreme poverty.
The organization helps Lebanese children and youth at risk, coming from difficult family backgrounds and with a history of violence who cannot afford to have an education. The Children at Risk program is available too for Bedouin and Gipsy families in the Bekaa, two marginalized and underprivileged communities in Lebanon.
In general, relational relief comes second after transactional relief. Once the targeted family has been given practical care in the form of basic goods, the work moves to another level, that of addressing the emotional and spiritual needs through regular home visits, monthly programs and children's activities. When a trustful relationship has been established, transformational relief can begin. It leads the individuals and families into a deeper and a long term level of self sustainability, both spiritually and vocationally.
The three phases normally take between 11 to 13 months that help people mover "From despair to hope". As the majority of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are women and children, there are specific programs for women, notably those who have become the sole provider for their families.
Also, for the ninth consecutive year, Heart for Lebanon has been playing a crucial role in the transitional period in the lives of at least one thousand Iraqi families, many of which are unable to find decent jobs to be financially independent.
The organization supports them, both Christians and Muslims, through the relief and community care initiative serving 500 families every other month, in addition to specific programs tailored for women. Time is spent listening to their problems and needs, especially that some of them are traumatized after escaping from ISIS attacks in Iraq.
Last updated: August 2016