HI’s work in Lebanon aims to increase the involvement of people with disabilities and vulnerable people in community life, both physically and in terms of professional, cultural and social inclusion. As a result of the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in Syria, HI has also rolled out emergency projects aimed at the affected population groups (refugees and host populations).
Ahlam, a young Syrian amputee, Lebanon - HI | © Elias Saade / HI
HI started work in Lebanon in 1992 in the Palestinian refugee camps and clusters (rehabilitation and promoting the rights of people with disabilities, and mental health work). The organisation has since provided emergency assistance in the crisis situations that have rocked the country and region. Since 2011, HI has been supporting Syrian refugees and the Lebanese community affected by the war in Syria.
In North Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley, HI ensures that people with disabilities receive appropriate emergency care such as rehabilitation, assistive devices (prostheses and orthotics) and psychosocial support. A specific project addresses the rehabilitation needs of children with disabilities living in Palestinian camps and surroundings in North Lebanon.
HI works alongside other humanitarian actors to improve inclusiveness. For example, in partnership with UNICEF, HI ensures that water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and services are accessible to people with specific needs.
HI is also carrying out mine clearance operations in the north of the country following the 2006 Israeli–Lebanese conflict. It provides psychological and psychosocial support to Palestinian refugee children and is helping people with disabilities campaign for their rights.
Lebanon has high quality services, notably health, education and social welfare. However, people with disabilities, particularly in rural and isolated areas, find it hard to access these services.
Lebanon is also home to a large community of Palestinian refugees, who mainly live in informal camps. These refugees find it particularly difficult to access health and education services.
Additionally, the fighting in Syria has forced hundreds of thousands of Syrians to take refuge in the neighbouring countries, including Lebanon. These populations are becoming increasingly vulnerable over time. On arrival, new refugees find themselves in an unknown environment and sometimes have no resources. They very often require emergency assistance, primarily to treat their physical and psychological injuries.
Finally, as a result of several decades of intermittent conflict and despite 15 years of clearance efforts, the population continues to be affected by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), with some victims requiring life-long assistance to live with their injuries.