The Jerrahi Order of America, working with the future NGO Connect Children Now, created the program "A Gift of Warmth" to assist Syrian refugee camp children in Lebanon.
Lebanon is now hosting more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees who fled the raging conflict in their home country. The majority lives in make–shift camps in extremely harsh conditions without proper heating. Freezing rain and mud have turned many camps into waterlogged bogs. Some tents became completely flooded and the children residing in them have become seriously ill.
The UNHCR (Higher Commissioner for Refugees) is facing major challenges in terms of providing the very basic needs for Syrian refugees. During the month of December and January, the commission distributed winter aid for 600,000 refugees, leaving 560,000 refugees without any aid. The "Gift of Warmth" project targeted vulnerable refugee families living in camps who did not receive any assistance this year from UN agencies, especially those residing in tented settlements who are facing freezing temperatures, rain and thunderstorms.
Syrian refugee children live in very harsh conditions and have limited access to basic needs like clothing, shelter and food. Small contributions such as clothing kits are very helpful and can improve their general wellbeing. Lack of proper clothing is one major issue among boys and girls living in tented settlements, which highly affects their health and school attendance.
Parents have reported that young children cannot sleep at night due to the cold weather. Flue, asthma and other respiratory infections are common among young children. In addition, most children living in the tented settlements lack proper footwear. This was cited as one of the main reasons for children skipping school.
The project has mainly served Syrian refugee children and young people who live in the tented settlements and camps in the regions of Akkar and South Lebanon, focusing on vulnerable refugee families that haven’t received any winter aid from other agencies.
- Kousha 1
- Kousha 2
- Tal Abbas
- Al Sikeh
1020 children (450 male & 570 female) between the age of 4 and 17 living in the above 5 tented settlements have received a complete clothing kit including warm outerwear, boots and socks. The beneficiaries were chosen through our local network and field volunteers, who were able to provide us with lists of the most vulnerable children.
Participation of the Local Community
The distribution days were highly organized and successful due to the support and dedication of young volunteers from the local community. The volunteers have assisted in:
- Packaging of kits
- Pre-collection of lists of vulnerable children in each camp in close coordination with our local network of social workers.
- Carrying the kits into the camp.
- Organizing the distribution on the spot.
The total budget spent on this project was $20,700. Clothing sets for 1020 children have cost $20,000 USD. Other expenses included $620 for transportation to 5 locations in two regions (South & Akkar) and $80 for field visits and communication.