Ahmad and Harba Ibrahim live in the center of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley with their nine children. They used to live in Syria in a home Ahmad built for his family, but as war raged through the country the family was forced to gather their belongings and flee to Lebanon.
They first arrived in the Bekaa Valley unsure what to expect. Before the war they lived in a furnished house, but home is now an informal tented settlement, similar to a refugee camp. Whereas once they could eat what they wanted, meat is now a luxury affordable only once every two weeks. The children were in education before the war, but these days remain at home helping their mother cook, clean and maintain the tent, a particularly important task in winter when rainwater and snow often seep through the canvas walls.
Despite the challenges, the Ibrahim family’s living situation made a little easier through the Lebanon Cash Consortium (LCC) program, which they have been beneficiaries of for the last year. Through the LCC, vulnerable Syrian refugee households receive $175 a month to help them meet basic food and non-food needs. The Ibrahims spend most of their cash on stables like beans, olive and bread, as well as rent and gas for the winter months.
Like the Ibrahim family, most refugees flee to Lebanon with little more than the clothes on their backs and are forced to depend on aid to survive. The LCC makes it easier for refugee families to take basic, daily decisions for themselves.
“Thank God for this assistance, it makes all the difference. At least with this cash, we can decide where and how to allocate and prioritize our expenses…We have a television in our tent; we always have the news channel on, and are patiently but impatiently waiting for some good news. News that informs us that the war is coming to an end, news that will tell us that we can go back home. We just want to go back home”. Says Harba
Although life is certainly not easy, the family have built a community of sorts with other displaced Syrians: “We made friends with other families in neighboring tents; we all help each other out, one way or another,” Says Ahmad
Ahmad and Harba want to return to Syria as soon as possible and restart their lives that currently feel on hold. They dream of simply their children returning to school, and putting the memories of war and displacement behind them.
“We have an ache for home, but the cash from the LCC makes our circumstances a little more livable” says Ahmad
With the support of World Vision and ECHO, the LCC project has supported 8,444 refugee households considered socio-economically vulnerable, and directly benefitted over 52,000 people.
Chloe Younes, Communications, World Vision Lebanon