Project: Children in refugee camp Bourj El Barajneh, Beirut – Lebanon
Organization: Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organization, (PWHO)
Report period: May 2013 – October 2013.
”The escalation of violence in Syria has had significant impacts on the community of Bourj el-Barajneh. The camp has become increasingly overcrowded with families and individuals recently displaced from Syria, who have arrived in the camp community to seek affordable housing, or stay with relatives. This has meant an increase in overcrowded homes, where multiple families may now share the same small 2 or 3 room apartment. Not only does this place increased pressure on an already strained and impoverished community, but has seen a diversion of NGO resources, that once provided much needed support to Palestinian communities in Lebanon, towards providing equally important support for those arriving from Syria. Although there is strong recognition of the needs of the Syrian community, there is also distress at the decrease in support for the Palestinian community, who feel that there situation is deteriorating as a result.”
”Further, the influx in people fleeing the conflict in Syria has also significantly impacted the availability of employment, which prior to the conflict in Syria, was already strained and inhibitive for Palestinian’s within Lebanon. Currently Palestinian’s experience greater difficulty finding work, as Lebanese employers are showing a preference to provide jobs to those displaced from Syria because they are willing to work for lower wages than their existing Lebanese Palestinian peers.”
”To compound this, there are now many children living within the community of Bourj el-Barajneh who themselves have witnessed and experienced multiple traumas prior to fleeing the conflict in Syria, and/or during their journey to Lebanon. There is little in the way of psychosocial support for these children and their families, who struggle to manage the effects of these experiences, whilst also attempting to build a new life in the unfamiliar environment of the camp, and Lebanon. This project has made a specific effort to include children from Syria in open day activities, and has created additional activities aimed at opening communication, understanding and empathy between recently arrived children and children from the existing community to counter any negative attitudes or feelings.”
”Finally, the camp community has witnessed deterioration in Mental Health both for adults and children alike in recent months. There have been a number of instances in which community members have taken their own lives, one such incident involving a young boy, and a recent situation involving a serious attempt by a father to end his own life. This marks a clear deterioration within the community, which has not experienced such situations in over 15 years. Although the contributing factors in each situation are complex and multi-layered they are not necessarily or particularly unique amongst the community. It is clear that these incidences speak to the overall deteriorating situation for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, who continue to experience systemic exclusion and discrimination within the broader society and political arena’s within a country and Government who denies acceptance of them.”