Since July 2013, World Renew has been providing assistance to 1,000 conflict-affected families in Jordan and 1,525 families in Lebanon. In December 2013, World Renew added 300 additional families in Lebanon. It is also assisting 950 families inside of Syria. This food assistance was made possible provided through World Renew’s membership in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
While these projects were scheduled to end in July 2014, the needs of Syrian refugees remain great. World Renew is pleased to announce that CFGB recently extended these programs to continue assisting vulnerable families in the Middle East until December 2014. These additional six months will enable World Renew to continue assisting families who desperately need our help until the situation in Syria stabilizes.
Rania, her husband Yousef, and their three children are one of the vulnerable families in Lebanon who will continue to be helped thanks to a World Renew food voucher program.
This family lived in a district of a city in Syria that has been a hotspot since the first days of the conflict. When the fighting, danger and devastation surrounding them became unbearable, they realized they must leave as their lives were at risk.
They first fled to a village in Syria, hoping to resume relatively normal lives. But they were unable to find a place to live and the village did not have enough food as a result of the escalating fighting in the region.
Seeing no other alternative, the family decided to move to Lebanon. Yousef left for Lebanon ahead of the rest of the family. A tailor by trade, he wanted to try to find work so he could earn some income for the family, as well as search for a place to stay. In Beirut, he eventually found some work in a factory using his skill.
During his absence, Rania and the children stayed in the village but it wasn’t easy. When Yousef returned, they all embarked on the journey to Lebanon together, paying a driver a war-inflated fare to take them and their few belongings.
The journey to Lebanon was very dangerous. At various checkpoints, Yousef was questioned about his vocation and his political affiliations. He was able to convince them each time that he was simply a tailor – but what if they had not believed him? “They would have taken all of us,” says Rania.
When they reached Beirut, the family first stayed with Yousef’s brother and three other Syrian families in cramped quarters. As soon as they were able to, they moved out.
"Lebanon is hosting over 1.1 million registered refugees from Syria, and when unregistered refugees are included, the estimates are 1.5-1.8 million. By the end of 2014, the UN predicts that one in three people in Lebanon will be refugees."
The family now lives in a small apartment comprised of one room plus a small kitchen. The rent is $400 per month. As Youssef’s income is a maximum of $500, this leaves the family only $100 on which to live.
“We’re now barely able to survive,” Rania says. Soon after their arrival, they learned that the building in which they had originally lived in Syria – their family home - had been destroyed in the shelling.
The family tried to get assistance from UNHCR in Beirut but they were not successful. Due to chronic underfunding, the UN agency for refugees is not able to adequately meet the enormous needs of the ever-growing number of refugees in Lebanon. As of early July 2014, Lebanon is hosting over 1.1 million registered refugees from Syria, and when unregistered refugees are included, the estimates are 1.5-1.8 million.
By the end of 2014, the UN predicts that one in three people in Lebanon will be refugees. This tiny country, which was already beset by its own significant challenges, now has the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world. It is utterly overwhelmed. Tragically, it is little wonder that families like Rania, Yousef and their children are falling through the cracks and finding themselves in desperate circumstances.
Fortunately, Rania and Yousef became aware of a small center in their neighborhood that, in addition to their regular outreach programs, tries to assist Syrian families through the provision of monthly food vouchers. World Renew and its partner the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD) are providing these vouchers.
The vouchers do not cover the family’s full dietary needs for the month, but they are an enormous help to them as they try to get by on Yousef’s meager income. Rania and Yousef are deeply grateful for this help, as it relieves some of the pressure of meeting the basic needs of their family – a pressure that unfortunately too many refugees face in Lebanon as a result of the critical shortage of humanitarian support.
World Renew is grateful for the support from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, the Canadian Government, the Integral Alliance and to constituents across North America for making these programs possible. Please prayerfully consider donating to this continued response to assist vulnerable families.
Please donate online
or send your gifts marked “Syria Conflict 2012” to:
World Renew US
1700 28th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
World Renew Canada
P.O. Box 5070 STN LCD
Burlington, Ontario, L7R 3Y8
Written by World Renew staff with reporting from Heather McGuffin, LSESD
Image above: Syrian refugee children (LSESD photo)