Civil Peace Service in Lebanon

"I want to go to school"

Amal Murad has survived a dangerous journey. Together with her family, this 14-year-old girl fled to Lebanon on foot, crossing a mountain range in freezing cold weather. Many other people from her village, a hamlet in the Qalamoun Mountain Range, also fled when the fighting between the Syrian army and the insurgents became increasingly fierce. With her parents and five siblings, Amal now lives in Baalbek in a two-room flat.

Amal misses her home

Although Amal feels comfortable in Baalbek, she misses her old home and the life she had there. "I knew many people in our village. We had lots of relatives there. And my father had work."

In Baalbek, Amal, together with other girls from Syria, goes to a tuition centre for schoolchildren, where she is taking an English course. The Centre offers tuition for Lebanese and Syrian schoolchildren. Amal hopes that she will soon be able to attend an ordinary Lebanese school so that she can receive lessons in all the usual school subjects.

Raid Hussein, 7 years old

Raid Hussein and his family fled from the civil war in Syria in the autumn of 2013. With his parents, Imad and Nour, and his five-year-old sister, Lujain, he lives in the Lebanese city of Baalbek. They share a one-room apartment with Raid's uncle.

"We can't go back"

The Hussein family come from Zabadani in Syria, close to the border with Lebanon. Their house was destroyed. "We can't go back. We couldn't take anything with us when we fled. Everything we had was burnt," Raid's father Imad explains.

"I hope that my daughter can get treatment"

"When our home was hit by bombs, my daughter was terrified. For a long time afterwards, she did not speak a word. Recently she has improved a little, but she still has speech problems. And whenever there is a loud noise, she flinches and becomes frightened," explains her mother, Nour Hussein.

Local people willing to help

"Our settling here has made life more difficult for the Lebanese, too – in particular as regards jobs," says Imad Hussein. In spite of these pressures, thirty-three year-old Imad has found the local population very willing to help. "When my daughter became very ill, a number of Lebanese people collected money for us so that I could take her to the capital Beirut for treatment."

"I want my children to have a future"

Wafa Al-Daif, aged 35, fled the civil war in Syria with her husband and six children in 2013. All they could take with them were their ID cards and a few important papers – nothing else. "My children were very frightened. Our house was destroyed in the fighting. It was completely gutted by fire. And it was such a beautiful house! We built it ourselves and put so much work and money into it."

Life in Baalbek

Like many Syrian refugees, the Al-Daif family now lives in the Lebanese city of Baalbek. "My husband was already working here before the war started. When we had to leave our village, he found a place for us to stay here in Baalbek," says Wafa Al-Daif.

The family is registered with UNHCR and receives food vouchers. "Of course the food we get through the vouchers is not enough to feed us all adequately," says this Syrian mother. That is why she is grateful that her husband occasionally finds work.

"In Syria, all my children went to school"

Sara, Ahmad and their other siblings cannot go to school in Lebanon because their parents do not have enough money to pay the registration fees or to pay for exercise books, schoolbooks and the school bus. "In Syria, all my children went to school. There, too, we had to pay but the costs were less than they are here," says the children's mother, Wafa Al-Daif. She hopes that, one day, her six children will be able to finish their education and live their lives without fear. "I hope that we will be able to live in a place where my children will have a future."

We are giving refugees prospects for the future

More than 4.8 million Syrians have left their country in order to escape the civil war. Many are staying in neighbouring Lebanon. In Lebanon's cities and villages, the housing market, the labour market, health care facilities and the education system are unable to cope with the huge influx of refugees. The strain on the country's scant resources is leading to conflict between the local Lebanese population and the Syrian refugees.

One fundamental problem is the lack of communication between the local people and the refugees. That is why the Forum Civil Peace Service (forumZFD), with support from the BMZ and the help of local partner organisations, has been setting up projects that will give Lebanese citizens and incoming Syrians the opportunity to get to know each other, thereby breaking down prejudices. These projects have been designed to include many different groups of people, such as young people, women's groups, local mayors, teachers and spokespersons for the refugees.

In addition, the projects sponsor the training of community mobilisers, whose task is to mediate in conflict situations. These community mobilisers speak to locals and refugees alike about their concerns and fears as well as their living and working conditions. Then, with the help of all parties concerned, the mobilisers try to improve the situation that is causing strife.

"I used to play as a striker" (in German only)