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Christian Emigration Report: Lebanon and Syria

  1. Around 150 students receive the help of the association, which pays part of the tuition fees (L.L. 250,000/year/child). The remaining amount is paid by the parents.
  2. Several cases of people needing health care are covered by the association.
  3. The diocese has a car to transport the people from their houses each Sunday to the church. While parents are at Mass, the children follow catechetical lessons.
  4. Some of the refugees are caught and put in jail. When possible, the diocese intervenes on their behalf.

The diocese helps the Iraqi refugees with its own means but their budget is tight and they cannot do much.

4. UNRWA

Established in 1950 after the Israeli-Arab war in 1948, its main office is located in Vienna, Austria. UNRWA works on helping the Palestinian refugees in the Middle East especially in the camps located in Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. UNRWA emphasizes education and technical and healthcare assistance.

Half the budget of the UNRWA is currently being spent on education. UNRWA, in coordination with UNESCO, has put together an educational program based on the program of the asylum country, especially in primary classes. Only in Lebanon, UNESCO runs secondary classes. This year, they received 800 additional children in two new secondary schools in North Lebanon and Bekaa. Four more schools are being constructed. Donations from the French embassy, the Canadian and the Japanese governments are given for education.

With the technical and financial help of the WHO, health care is being provided to the refugees. In 1953, a program was developed for pregnant and children. In 2000, 26,000 children below five years old were vaccinated. Hospitalization is sometimes made possible through aid from Italy, Canada and the European Union.

In addition to this, different activities are undertaken with the refugees. Food provision and financial aid are provided to the poorest. Income-generating activities for women as well as literacy classes are made possible. In Ain El Heloueh camp, they developed, in coordination with different Non-Governmental Organizations, a program for blind people in order to insert them in regular schools. A credit program was also made available in order to increase the income and decrease the poverty level (UNRWA source).

II. The Situation in Syria

Like other countries in the region, population movements from and to Syria started in the late 19th century. No official figures or statistics are available; moreover, no civil or non-governmental organization has conducted a research or study regarding this issue. However, some indicators could be found in a report done by ESCWA and some other papers prepared by individuals.

Although emigration declined, the problem in itself increased because those who are leaving are the most educated persons. They leave behind mostly poor people and sometimes rich but uneducated persons.

Who is immigrating into Syria?

According to UNHCR, Syria hosts some 5,000 refugees who originally came from Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and other countries. Approximately 4,000 urban refugees live in Damascus and another 1,000 live in El-Hol camp in Hassakeh governorate.





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