Syrian refugees in Lebanon

May 31, 2017

Musarrat Kazepis, our Special Programs Manager, Maha Ghatasheh from The Institute for Family Health in Jordan, and I are in Lebanon to explore possibilities for working with local organizations to meet the needs of Lebanon’s one million war-traumatized Syrian refugees.

On our first day, we met with representatives of The American University of Beirut and the Aga Khan Foundation, as well as with Salwa Jabri and Nimat Bizri of the Social Support Society.

The next day we leave Beirut with Nimat and Salwa; we drive along the Mediterranean, stirring memories of stories of long-ago Phoenician sailors and pirates; then head inland up over the mountains and through the gorgeous Beqaa Valley toward the Syrian border.

What follows are a few pictures of our visit to a refugee camp and to a school that Salwa and Nimat have created. I hope they give you a small sense of the loss and sorrow, as well as the generosity of spirit of the people we met and of the hopefulness of the children in the Social Support Society school.

View of the Mediterranean Sea from Beirut

Beqaa Valley Dr. James Gordon and Salwa Jabri, co-founder of Social Support Society’s school programs, standing at the entrance of a Refugee camp near the Syrian border. Dr. James Gordon and Salwa Jabri speaking with a Refugee family living in the camp. With mothers and children inside a Refugee camp. A moment of laughter with a Syrian child. Joining 4th Graders in their lesson on time.

Talking about the towns they come from – Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, Raqqa.

Dr. James Gordon and Maha Ghatasheh sitting with Bar Elias School staff. Looking over writing assignments. Singing happy birthday in Arabic. Consultation with a worried Syrian mother.