A Second Chance

Refugees in Lebanon

 

You may be following the news about the situation in Lebanon, but please allow me to give you a glimpse of what Lebanese (and others who live in Lebanon) are experiencing on the ground.
 

Lebanon has been witnessing difficult economic conditions amid months of nationwide protests, a confused current ruling political government, and the impact of COVID-19. The poverty rate is going over 50%, above the World Bank's estimate of 32% in 2018. Unemployment has just hit over 40%, and Lebanon has descended into a recession. The Lebanese pound has lost more than 75% of its value since anti-government protests started in October. The black market exchange rate is now 8,000 Lebanese pounds for US $1 in comparison to 1,515 pounds in 2019. Banks instituted strict withdrawal restrictions on people’s deposits.
 

Last week, we visited all of the bakeries in our city, but no bread was available for purchase. Supermarkets and shops have chosen to close down, as they are unable to cope with the changes of the exchange rate.
 

We were allowed to purchase nine litres of petrol at petrol stations. The power company is warning the people that there will be major power shortages soon. Our TV ads are predicting that we are approaching a similar scenario to that of Venezuela, Iran, or Syria.
 

In fact, even during the 17 years of our civil war, we did not experience such hardship. The hardship is even tougher on the millions of refugees living in Lebanon.
 

Khaledi*, a 15-year-old Syrian boy from Aleppo, always defined himself as a lost boy trying to figure out his future, especially after leaving his school and his country and losing all hope for a bright future.
 

In a tent with 10 people, it was always hard to dream and to plan his future while all he could think of was how to provide money and food to the rest of the family. His father had a permanent liver disease, making it nearly impossible to take care of his large family.
 

Since joining our carpentry classes, Khaledi found himself able to focus on a new talent and a new occupation that could give him an improved way to think and to express himself, where his creativity and skills would let him release what’s inside.
 

After finishing the course, Khaledi said, "I felt life was giving me a second chance, where I can dream of being a great carpenter one day. Everything feels different now. I believe that I have a responsibility that life gave me that I have to benefit from, and I’m so grateful for it.”
 

Khaledi, one of the smartest children, was chosen by his teacher to be his personal assistant in the carpentry classes. The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you, and our centre helped Khaledi become an inventive carpenter, which is what will give him the chance to help his society.

 

Thank you,

 

Izdihar
GHNI Partner

*For the purpose of safety and wellbeing, " Khaledi " is a pseudonym for the individual being helped by this project

 

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