It may not be evident walking down the crowded streets of Beirut, but according to the U.N. Development Programme, more than one in four citizens in Lebanon are currently living in poverty. What is even more shocking is that this number has climbed nearly 66 percent since 2011.
Fortunately, there are many organizations with missions working on human rights in Lebanon to alleviate not only the causes, but the symptoms of poverty. Two of these organizations include the Insan Association and KAFA Enough Violence and Exploitation (KAFA).
The Insan Association works with all marginalized groups in Lebanon, including asylum-seekers and migrant workers. Its mission is to promote human rights in Lebanon through being a voice for individuals who do not have a voice of their own so that they can reach their full socio-economic potential. Insan does this through what is defined on its website as a “scheme consisting of educational, psychosocial, and legal services.”
One way Insan furthers human rights in Lebanon is through the Insan School and Integration Program. The program assists children who have been removed from public schools in Lebanon due to various reasons (including a lack of language ability or psychological or social issues that are not addressed by schools). These programs provide the necessary support for children to integrate back into the public school system. Once they are integrated back, it continues to guide the children until they find a job or enter higher education. These services include providing tutoring or psycho-social support.
KAFA is an NGO dedicated to human rights in Lebanon as well. It achieves this through ensuring a society that is free of discrimination against women and children. KAFA (meaning “enough”) supports its mission through introducing new laws and reforming existing ones and conducting research. It also provides training to empower women and children who have been victims of violence. Its focus is on family violence, trafficking of women, child protection, and sexual abuse cases.
One successful program through KAFA includes the “Citadel of Protection” training. Since 2014, there has been training given to more than 300 service providers living in the area of Bekaa along with 1275 children, 400 teenagers and 935 caregivers. It includes information on children’s sexual development, children’s rights and their protection from gender-based violence which includes early marriage and sexual abuse.
It is organizations like these that will hopefully continue providing services that assist human rights in Lebanon. In these ways, these organizations can get to the root causes of poverty instead of focusing on simply the symptoms.
– Sydney Roeder