Refugee Crisis in Lebanon – My experience

I sat looking at the work being completed by our almost soley Syrian born and super efficient construction team in my broken plastic chair that kept wobbling and  brushing the dust from my jacket which seemed an endless task as more debris kept flying my way, simultaneously I was helping dad in organizing his receipts for materials and calculating costs. We were shouting at each other over the din of the machinery to be heard, which of course must have also been annoying the local businessman who runs a little restaurant right next to the site To assuage his annoyance we bought a lot of food for the team and laid it out on a piece of wood with newspapers as a tablecloth. I was contemplating the glamour of life on a building site when a young girl probably about six or seven years old with rats tailed hair and a grubby face tapped my shoulder and held out her hands for money.

I jumped and looked at her little face and beseeching eyes and felt immediately humbled and ridiculous. Here I was focusing on silly annoyances when this little girl had been sent out to beg to give her family a chance in life. This occurrence continued throughout my time in Beirut, grandmothers, children, mothers, fathers, grandfathers all  looking for a couple of dollars they would approach me and ask for help.

These people were Syrian refugees and the situation has really reached crisis point in Lebanon, and Lebanon has taken the brunt of accepting these people facing extreme tragedy in their lives into their country. Quite frankly though it is struggling to cope and fears of sectarian clashes are also reigning strong as terrorism attacks are on the increase. The PM has urged the international community to help and just days before I arrived Angelina Jolie was raising awareness by visiting refugees with the UN. See her appeal here:

These people are struggling more than you or I could possibly imagine and the UN believes more than half of these refugees are children.It’s so easy when we are caught up in our daily lives to feel separate from the situations in other countries but these kids have no permanent home, many have lost parents and family in the war, all have been traumatized and all need help. We are so privileged here in the UK don’t you think?  It was certainly a wake up call for me.

Here is a quote from a family man forced to flee to Lebanon: ‘We are living a very hard life, we have nothing. We buy from our own money of what is left with us and we are running really low and soon I will have no money to support anything for my family. The water that we are drinking is contaminated and it is making us sick. Our journey from Syria was really harsh, I don’t like to talk about it.Everything we have here in this room is from the garbage, our life was not like this back in Syria. We had a wonderful life.’

Source- (Phil Coomes-BBC)

If anyone would like to read more about what is happening in Syria or maybe donate you can visit these sites: – How to donate – First hand experience of the crisis

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