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Improving shelter conditions during the winter season in Informal Settlements and Improving Access to Education and Primary Health Care for Syrian Refugees

The government of Lebanon does not allow organised refugee camps, such as the ones in Jordan or Turkey, to operate in the country. About 250,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in informal tented settlements, built of combustible materials such as wood, plastic or various fabrics. For many years, fires in these camps have been an unresolved problem. In 2015, more than 50 refugees perished in fires in the tented settlements in Beqaa Valley alone. The fire extinguishers distributed by various humanitarian organisations turned out to be ineffective. The first project effectively preventing fires in refugee camps turned out to be the programme of Polish Aid and the Polish Centre for International Aid, which in 2016-17 led to the installation of Fire Points in 70 camps. These Points were supplied with the means needed to extinguish fires, such as fire extinguishers, sand, a fire beater, a fire hook and other portable fire safety equipment. The project turned out to be extremely effective and helped to extinguish 20 fires in the camps (data as for December 2017), making it effective in as much as 28%.

The main humanitarian problem in Lebanon is the deepening indigence of Syrian refugees, particularly of families who have no household member capable of working. Free medical aid is the only way these people can have access to qualified aid. The health centre in Al-Bireh operates within the health care system for refugees coordinated by the UNHCR and has the right to refer refugees for hospital treatment paid by the UNHCR in 75%. Access to qualified physicians, the opportunity to obtain free medication and referral for hospital treatment co-financed by the UN make it possible to provide specialist medical help.

In Lebanese schools, classes are held in Arabic and in French. Syrian children who do not speak French have great problems with completing their education at the primary level. According to UN data, as many as 54% of the children of school age do not attend school! The educational centre in Al-Bireh, built with funds from Polish Aid in 2016, conducted supplementary classes for 600 Syrian children in 2017 (grades 1-8), thanks to which they could continue their education in a Lebanese school without difficulty. Equally important is vocational education for young people who have completed primary school. For Syrian refugees this is one of the few ways of acquiring vocational skills and mastering a concrete trade. In 2017 the educational centre held classes for nurse assistants and pharmacists (mainly for girls), installation electricians (boys) and also offered computer classes (for boys and girls).

Improving shelter conditions during the winter season in Informal Settlements and Improving Access to Education and Primary Health Care for Syrian Refugees

The project of the Polish Centre for International Aid Foundation has been implemented in northern Lebanon since 1 April 2018 and is to be completed by the end of the year.

The main aim of the project is to protect the tented settlements of Syrian refugees against natural occurrences. The priority is to protect the settlements against fires. So far, the PCPM has implemented the biggest programme in Lebanon securing tented settlements against fires. As a result of this, the PCPM has been asked to expand its actions. In 2018 the PCPM plans to install 200 Fire Points, with installations, monitoring and replenishment of used up equipment by the end of 2019. In addition, 740 Lebanese families will receive an allowance to prepare their households for winter. The project will also enable the continued uninterrupted operation of the health centre and educational centre (financed by Polish Aid in 2016) for Syrian refugees.

In the first action, the aid recipients will consist of all Syrian refugees living in the tented settlements. According to UNHCR, there are 1009 such settlements in the region covered by the project. Out of this pool, settlements will be chosen in which the PCPM will install 200 Fire Points. It is estimated that at least 5,000 Syrian refugees will benefit from this measure.

In the second action, an allowance will be given to the poorest Lebanese families who are living in worse conditions than the Syrian refugees living in the tented settlements. The programme is to cover 740 families with a total of 3,700 persons.

The health centre will benefit Syrian refugees living in the central part of the Akkar Governorate, where the centre is located. The acceptance criterion will be their state of health. It is estimated that by 2019, the clinic will serve 5,200 Syrian and 1,000 Lebanese refugees.

The educational centre will be operating for Syrian children and young people as well as Lebanese young people attending vocational classes. Insofar as the number of available places is not overstepped, children of Syrian refugees will be admitted without any preconditions. In the case of greater interest, they will be entered on a waiting list. The centre can serve 600 children and Syrian refugees. Altogether, the programme will benefit 15,500 persons.