Lebanon. The country where 2 million out of 6 million people are refugees. One third of the country. The country that has allowed more refugees in than any other country has during the crisis.
Over the last couple of years, the refugee crisis is something we see on our daily news every single day. Saddening and harrowing images of children covered in blood, of families crying and in despair.
The life of syrian regugees
For some, an unimaginable dream. And for others, a nightmare come true. It creates a sense that there is a need to take action. But it also creates a separation, a divide between the two groups, and a loss of the humanity.
We do need to take action, but also realise refugees are people with hope, power, a future, and happiness, as much as anyone else.
Reaching the first camp, our car is immediately followed by kids running from the football field towards us. Excited but shy, they grouped together and watch us from the hill. It took two waves, one “hello, how are you”, and a lot of laughing, and they did not leave our sight.
Most of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are poor. They used to be farmers (potentially with some private land), but due to the war lost their livelihood. Their economical status made it that they can’t afford to go to Europe or America, so they flee to a place nearby; Lebanon. Only a few days walk, they end up dispersed in different camps, ranging from small camps with 30 people to bigger ones with 600 people
This little girl was born in the refugee camp in Anjar, Lebanon. On a small dirt road, little tents lined up. She was born in what you may call “the shadows of society.” Look into her eyes. Do you see the hope and power?
At other times of the year, the field becomes a place the mafia lords grow weed, an industry famously big in Lebanon. The mafia actually runs a lot of Lebanon, controlling big parts of land and making sure boundaries are kept. This changes the tone of this seemingly playful and peaceful camp.
The camp in Anjar was one road with a few Ikea tents lined up to them. The road was next to a very big green field of grass, which functions as a perfect playground for the many kids in the camp. After a while, we learned that this is the only time the kids can actually play on this field.
Asmaa goes to school everyday, to focus on her future. With everything she is living through, that is the only thing she can do. The school she goes to is one of the schools through Social Support Service.
Most Syrians don't have official papers in Lebanon, so children won’t be able to participate in exams. Even back in Syria, most didn't have papers, making it impossible for them to officially finish their education, let alone get a job..
Even without the possibility of officially completing exams, these kids go to school everyday ready to commit to their education.
They’ve opened multiple schools up for Syrian refugees, but only after normal school hours. It can’t be during, because families woulnd’t be able to afford it
.Text © Zita Luiten