12 year old Alaa Huzaifa, a refugee from Syria, sells flowers in Beirut

12 year old Alaa Huzaifa, a refugee from Syria, sells flowers in Beirut

Empowering Syrian Refugees and Hosting Communities

Whether in the media or on the streets, you have probably had a glimpse of the plight of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Thousands and thousands of families left their homes and their livelihoods because they feared for their lives. They may have escaped the violence, but they now struggle to get through the day. And Lebanon finds itself crushed under the weight of receiving so many in such desperate need.

But here is one project that plans to help ease the pain.

The Positive Planet Foundation would like to share with you a unique project that aims to support both the Lebanese Hosting Community and 300 Syrian Refugees (18-35 years old) to get back on their feet through the creation of their own small businesses. Through a local NGO partner, the Makhzoumi Foundation, the objective is to develop economic skills and opportunities through education, vocational training, communication, coaching, conflict resolution and life skills.

The Problem

For many years now, Lebanon has provided a safe haven for the Syrian refugees. As of May 2015, there were over 1 million registered refugees in Lebanon. With the addition of un-registered refugees, the total is estimated to be over 2 million. See UNHCR profiles and data here and here.

This influx, along with the already considerable presence of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees, has meant a considerable strain on Lebanon and its economic resources. The estimated unemployment rate among Lebanese is 27%, while unofficial estimates among Palestinian, Iraqi and Syrian refugees put unemployment as high as 50% – creating a situation of considerable tension and struggle between the refugees and their host communities.

Why this project is unique

This project is empowering communities at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ and ultimately fostering unity by bringing two communities together through entrepreneurship. The project is an investment in the well-being of all who are suffering the impact of the refugee crisis.

The real impact

Until there is peace, there are the needs of today. This project will make sure the refugees and hosting community are set up in a legal and sustainable way. The expected outreach of this project will support 1500 members of their immediate families in addition to thousands of youths and their families through a ‘butterfly effect’.

The target

Although the project is campaigning for 100,000 USD, that is half of what is really needed. Positive Planet is seeking at least 200,000 USD to implement this 18 month project. If the full amount is not raised, then there will be less impact than stated in this project.  So, the more funds raised, the more people impacted. All funds will go towards training and building the capacity of the youth.

How you can help

Please support this project to change lives for the better by donating and spreading the word to your colleagues, friends and families. This awareness and fundraising campaign needs your support. In the case of promotion on social media, please use the hashtag #EmpoweringSyria

For more information on the project and to donate, please visit http://igg.me/at/aKUixloiKY4. You can also contact Positive Planet’s Private Partnership Director (MENA), Nadia Al-Shadhir, nadia.alshadhir@positiveplanet.ngo.


Photo from “In Lebanon, Syrian refugee children find safety from war but new dangers on the streets,” The Washington Post, 3 April 2014.

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