“The children went out into the fields at night and picked up any leftover potatoes they could find,” explained Yussef’s sister Hiba. Potatoes were piled on the floor in a corner of the cooking area in the family’s makeshift shelter, proof of the children’s efforts to help feed their family.
Before coming to Lebanon, Yussef’s family had never left Syria. In Syria, they had owned their own house and Yussef had worked as a guard at a school. Then the Syrian conflict erupted. The school where Yussef worked was destroyed by shelling and the ongoing violence put the family members’ lives at risk. They decided they must leave for a safer place.
At four o’clock one morning, 11 members of the extended family - ranging from a baby to an elderly grandfather- set out for Lebanon. They brought with them only a careful selection of belongings including some cooking utensils and bedding. The trip cost them three-quarters of their savings.
The shelter the family finally found in Lebanon is in a farming area out in a valley. The large, open concrete structure that they now call home was used in the past for dumping garbage. Yussef’s family set to work cleaning it out. They’ve hung plastic sheeting to partition off cooking and sleeping areas. It is sufficient for now, but winter is coming soon. The valley where Yussef’s family has taken refuge already becomes very cold at night. Soon, the region will get snow. Their temporary shelter will not provide adequate shelter against this winter weather.
The family faces other issues as well. Using flour they had brought from Syria, the women are able to make bread to eat and the children have found potatoes. This food supply will not last long. Moreover, the four children are not in school, the family has no access to medical care, and there is no income. The family is living from day to day, uncertain about how they will cope.
Unfortunately, Yussef’s family is not an isolated case. Every day more Syrian refugee families are crossing Lebanon’s borders seeking safety. World Renew is working with the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development to provide food and other essential items to those in need. Please continue to keep this ministry in your prayers. Financial support is also needed.
Gifts marked “Syria Conflict 2012” can also be sent to:
World Renew US
2850 Kalamazoo Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49560
World Renew Canada
P.O. Box 5070 STN LCD
Burlington, Ontario, L7R 3Y8
*Names have been changed for the protection of the refugees