view all campaigns

Campaign Stories
  Acting on Pope Francis' call for inter-religious cooperation in the Middle East
  Lebanon: before and after displacement, through a Syrian refugee child's eyes
  Dialogue is the Solution in Syria, not War
  Displaced by conflict in Syria, refugee helps others
  Examining the role of women from a humanitarian perspective in response to the conflict in Syria
  Families flee Syria to protect their children
  In Syria conflict, persecution affects Muslims and Christians
  Jesuit priest: people of Homs hunger for normality
  Jesuit Refugee Service stands with Syria
  Jesuit Refugee Service Syria staff stand together in serving the displaced
  Jordan: accompaniment comes first for refugees
  Jordan: eat dust here or die in Syria
  Jordan: living in the shadow of Syria's crisis
  JRS in Iraq as winter imperils displaced families
  JRS Jordan director visits U.S. universities, parishes
  JRS urges Australia, U.S. to increase humanitarian intake
  Lebanon: educational boost for refugee children
  Lebanon: JRS offers hope through education
  Lebanon: space for refugees from Syria to learn
  Lebanon: Syrian children need more than a traditional education
  Lebanon: Syrian refugee children counting on school
  Middle East: updates from JRS
  On the Anniversary of the War in Syria, JRS Calls for Renewed Attention
  Pope urges concrete help for refugees
  Syria: between fear of violence and the struggle to survive
  Syria: bringing families together
  Syria: daily life a struggle to survive
  Syria: amidst upheaval, JRS expands services
  Syria: enduring spirit remains despite the rubble
  Syria: five years on, time for diplomacy to deliver
  Syria: food & fuel shortages add to daily woes
  Syria: interfaith family volunteers in Aleppo
  Syria: JRS refugee center destroyed, our work continues
  Syria: let this fourth anniversary of the war be the last
  Syria: maintaining normalcy in Aleppo
  Syria: Refugees from Iraq on the sidelines of yet another conflict
  Syria: Restoring hope
  Syria: shelter and food difficult to find
  Syria: thousands more displaced by violence in Aleppo
  Syria: turning pain into their most powerful weapon
  Syria: urgent need for winter supplies
  Syria: violence in Damascus fuels hopelessness, fear
  Syria: When Hope Returns – Rama’s Story
  Syria: why people flee and why they need protection
  Syrian refugees face food cuts in Jordan, Lebanon
  Water is a precious gift in Syria
  Witnessing the hope and resilience of Syrians
Connect with us
Abu Feras* and his children and nieces live in the shelter in Naameh, Lebanon. Although their living conditions are far from ideal, he says that at least his children are safe here. His eldest son was killed in cross-fire in Syria, prompting him to bring the rest of his family to safety in Lebanon. (Don Doll, S.J.—Jesuit Refugee Service)

(Beirut) May 12, 2013 — The small town of Naameh lies less than 13 miles south of Beirut along the coastal road. Notorious for religious tensions and prone to violence between different sects, it seems an unlikely place to settle, yet it is now home to 50 Syrian families —about 300 individuals — who are taking shelter in a derelict school. 

Mohsin*, a Lebanese resident of Naameh, says that he was moved by the sight of many Syrian families sleeping on the streets in and around the town. 

"Women were also involved in activities that were not safe, just to have some money to support their children," he says.

Along with a friend, he petitioned the local municipality to open the abandoned school in Naameh to shelter Syrian families. He explains that it was not an easy task, but eventually the municipality agreed to it. Despite this they regularly receive random visits from the police asking them what they are doing, and telling them it is not permitted to have people living in the school. 

The school comprises two levels, with basic bathroom facilities, a laundry area and some cooking amenities. Four big gas stoves are available and families take turns cooking throughout the day. There is roughly one family per classroom, but in some cases the room is partitioned with a hanging blanket and two families will live together. 

Jesuit Refugee Service learned about the shelter in January and provides food baskets, mattresses, blankets, small stoves and hygiene kits. However there is an urgent need to improve the living conditions in the shelter, provide regular electricity, medical care for chronic illnesses and to ensure that the hundreds of children living in the shelter receive educational support. 

Abu Feras*, a man living in the shelter who has lost his 15 year old son, spoke about his personal ordeal. With his children seated around him, he explained the heartbreaking story of his eldest son’s death as a result of cross-fire; his funeral and the fear that followed the family as they fled to Lebanon in order to protect their other children. 

Overcome with emotion, his tears flowed unchecked as he said his only wish for the future is to take his children back to their home, and to watch them grow up safely and in peace. 

"The parents of Syrian families did the only thing they could to protect their children — they escaped the violence. It's up to us to now support them and secure their children's future through providing education," said Fr Peter Balleis S.J., International Director of JRS, during a recent trip to Lebanon. 

JRS Lebanon is rolling out an Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) in areas where we work. The ALP is designed to help Syrian students learn French, English, Math and other subjects, so they can enter the Lebanese public school system in the new academic year. 

The situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is dire. The UNHCR officially registered number is more than 400,000 refugees, but the government estimates nearly one million Syrians are in the country. 

JRS is working in five locations in Lebanon, offering support to Syrians where no other NGOs are operating. You can support the work of JRS in Lebanon by clicking here.

*Names changed for security reasons

by Zerene Haddad
JRS Middle East and North Africa Communications Officer

  Follow Me on Pinterest

Countries Related to this Region
Canada, United States of America