Apply to Join

Investing in the Future for a Syrian Community

by Refugees International Japan
Investing in the Future for a Syrian Community
Investing in the Future for a Syrian Community
Investing in the Future for a Syrian Community
Investing in the Future for a Syrian Community
Investing in the Future for a Syrian Community
Investing in the Future for a Syrian Community
Investing in the Future for a Syrian Community
Investing in the Future for a Syrian Community
Investing in the Future for a Syrian Community
Investing in the Future for a Syrian Community

Over sixty thousand refugees live in the border town of Arsal and its surrounding area; outnumbering the local Lebanese population significantly. In such an environment, work is hard to find and for many refugees the future feels bleak. Refugees in the area also face uncertainty due to the frequent comings and goings of Syrians traveling over the border. An increasing number are choosing to return home, despite ongoing conflict.

Through vocational trainings on topics such as hairdressing, mosaic work and camp administration, Syrian refugees in Arsal are equipped with useful skills to give them a sense of achievement and purpose; leading to the chance of informal employment in the camps and town.

Young refugees like Asaad, 19 years old, Bilal, 21 years old, and Ahmed, 22 years old, have benefited greatly from the program. The three boys fled Syria in 2015 and settled in Arsal after travelling over a rough mountain route to avoid regime soldiers. They had no continued education of any kind in Arsal until they attended the mobile phone software/hardware course in 2017. They have now set up their own small shop near one of the refugee camps. It has been running since mid-September 2017, offers repairs on software and deals with other technical problems. They also sell and fit smaller items for phones such as screen protection. They appear happy and are focused on trying to expand their little business.

The program continues to find success due to the determination of refugees to regain their dignity and better their lives. All refugees want the opportunity to give back to their community, to find a sense of normality through work and a daily routine, and to build a better future for themselves and their loved ones. This idea has been a cornerstone of RIJ’s philosophy for decades. Through the funding of local organisations, RIJ aims to find sustainable solutions to refugee problems. RIJ does not have staff on the ground, instead working with local people and supporting the concept of “refugees supporting refugees”. This emphasis on development, rather than material handouts and foreign intervention, is the key to achieving sustainability. 

Thank you for your support. Your contribution brings opportunity and hope to Syrian refugees living in difficult conditions in Lebanon.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Life in camp
Life in camp

Life for refugees living in Arsal continues to be uncertain. The Lebanon authorities are encouraging refugees to return to Syria despite ongoing conflict and disruption.

The authorities are not allowing UNHCR staff to operate and check for voluntary repatriation.

Documentation has become increasingly difficult to obtain. However, meanwhile refugees in Arsal continue to seek opportunities for training as this provides a focus and a form of investment for the future.

If they have to move back, voluntarily or not, skills gained in the courses in Lebanon will still be of use back home in Syria. These skills are also transferable as they can be used to train others.

Refugees everywhere seek some normality in their lives despite the temporary nature of their existence.

Having a job and being able to move around in the community provides normality. Being dependent on others and unable to work leaves people feeling vulnerable and open to exploitation.

Refugees who have graduated from previous training courses are proud of their accomplishments and working in the community also connects them with others. This increased sense of community raises morale and enables them to handle disappointments and challenges better.

Basel (25 years old) set up a small shop in a tent space in the refugee camps after completing the course in domestic electricity and power storage supply. He built up business to make a profit and now employs two assistants who also completed the training course.

All the skills provided through these courses (from mobile phone and electrical repair to computer skills and tailoring) have a practical application in any situation.

This is a project that invests in the future for so many. Your support is important and we appreciate it!

Safe appliances are necessary
Safe appliances are necessary
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Studying computer
Studying computer

Dignity and a sense of achievement is important for us all. After seven years of war, Syrian refugees continue to seek a sense of normality in their lives and they persevere under incredibly challenging circumstances. Through vocational trainings on topics ranging from electrical repairs to hairdressing, this project provides much needed opportunities to restore hope and dignity to refugees in Arsal, Lebanon on the Syrian border.

Ghada, a 28-year-old widow, fled Syria with her daughter. When she first arrived in Lebanon, she had no opportunities for work and little resources. She was entirely dependent on charity for food aid and support. Eventually, she joined and successfully completed the Computer Skills training course. Upon graduation, she was able to secure a job with the UN and now uses her newly attained skills for her job. Not only can she now support herself and her daughter financially, but she has found a new sense of self and purpose.

We have many individual success stories like Ghada`s to share but cannot overstate the impact these trainings have had on the refugee community as a whole. Graduates often use their skills to improve the quality of life within the refugee camps by accomplishing tasks such as solving electrical problems, repairing clothing or fixing mobile phones. These are small nuisances that we may face regularly but can pose great challenges to refugees with limited resources. And as news of these trainings spread, there is even greater demand from the community for more courses – a true testament to their success!

Your generous support continues to bring opportunity and hope to Syrian refugees on the Syrian border in Lebanon.

Thank you!

Camp conditions are basic
Camp conditions are basic
Learning skills despite limited space in the camp
Learning skills despite limited space in the camp
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Arsal and Syrian border
Arsal and Syrian border

Training for a Better Future on the Syrian Border

                  We recently visited this project in Arsal, a town heavily controlled by Lebanese forces. Once granted access, we slowly made our way over the rugged terrain, surrounded by steep mountains dotted with watchtowers – an ever-present reminder of the fighting just over the mountains.

                  Arriving at the project’s community center, we first attended the graduation ceremony for the mobile phone repair course. The positive energy in the room was contagious, and eager graduates gratefully accepted their toolkits filled with the essential tools needed to start work or their own businesses. We then moved on to observe the sewing course where women showed off their beautifully handmade sweaters, blankets and even baby doll clothes! These women had so much talent and were overjoyed to finally be able to use their skills again. But even more important than the course itself, they said, was having a place to be every day, armed with a purpose and surrounded by friends.

                  Our final stop was to a shop owned by a recent mobile phone repair course graduate. I expected to visit an informal set-up resembling a street stall. What we found couldn’t have been more different.   As we entered the brick and mortar shop, I was taken aback by shop’s professional appearance. The walls were lined with trendy, brightly-colored phone cases and the display case was stocked with an assortment of phone accessories. The owner’s face lit up with pride when he spoke of being able to support his family again. When asked what he did before the course, he laughed and replied jokingly, that he had been a thief - but this was to cover the shame that he had had to take what food he could get when on the run from the conflict. However, he has overcome this and been able to start his own business. He plans on hiring other refugees in the near future.    

                  After this visit, we returned even more convinced that this community-led, sustainable project is creating opportunities and changing lives on the Syrian border. At a time when the news coverage is saturated with bad news, we have positive stories to tell. This project is providing much more than vocational skills needed for graduates to rebuild their lives. It is giving them a sense of purpose. Identifying vulnerable youth, particularly young men, within camps, this project is equipping them with knowledge and tools that render recruitment by militants or the temptation of illicit activities unattractive and ultimately ineffectual.   This leads to not only better lives for the graduates and their families, but also a safer, more secure future for the local community as well.  

Through your generous and kind donations, you are providing hope and opportunity of a brighter future for these people. Thank you so much. 

Mobile phone repair shop
Mobile phone repair shop
Mobile phone repair kit
Mobile phone repair kit
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Refugees International Japan

Location: Minato-ku, Tokyo - Japan
Website:
Project Leader:
Stacy Ryan
Minato-ku, Tokyo Japan

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

Still want to help?

Support another project run by Refugees International Japan that needs your help, such as:

Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.