Children in Lebanon grow up in a climate of distrust and fear - a legacy of the country’s fifteen-year civil war which ended in 1990. Tension between different religious and ethnic groups still results in outbreaks of violence. The most significant incident of recent years was the 2014 conflict between the Lebanese army and armed militants in the area surrounding Tripoli.
The ongoing war in neighbouring Syria has served to further destabilise the country. Lebanon is home to approximately 1.2 million registered refugees from Syria. This significant population increase has had an overwhelming effect on the country’s social, economic and political stability. The abduction of some 30 Lebanese soldiers by Armed Opposition Groups from Syria has also served to increase internal tensions.
The ongoing conflict between Hezbollah and Israel is another cause of instability. The 2006 war between Hezbollah paramilitary forces and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) caused lasting damage to Lebanon’s infrastructure. Several skirmishes between the two factions were recorded in the first months of 2016, with casualties on both sides.
Some 450,000 Palestinian refugees continue to live in ‘parallel states’ inside Lebanon, either in unofficial gatherings or in one of the country’s twelve refugee camps. Palestinian refugees represent some 10 per cent of the country’s population and are forced to live in an atmosphere where violence is a constant threat. The 120,000 residents of the Ain Helweh refugee camp - the country’s largest - are particularly vulnerable.
What we do
War Child Holland in Lebanon has been actively responding to the Syria emergency crisis since early 2012. War Child is currently co-leading the psychosocial working group in Lebanon and providing protection and psychosocial support services to Syrian children. Our services are also accessed by significant numbers of children and young people from both the Palestinian refugee and Lebanese host communities - contributing to peace-building efforts.
In several Safe Spaces across the country, children can begin to recover from the experience of their displacement and access support to boost their psychosocial and emotional well-being. We work to reach as many people as possible through our programmes - including parents and other important adults in children’s lives.