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On August 4, 2020, an explosion that ripped through the port of Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, killed 178 people and injured 6,568 others; it destroyed 128 schools, damaged six hospitals and more than 20 health clinics, and left over 300,000 people homeless.
Lebanon needs to rebuild. And in that process, the country’s most marginalized are most likely to be left behind.
In addition to the loss of homes, critical infrastructure, and medical facilities, the Beirut explosion has destroyed 128 schools, causing significant damage to most infrastructure and computer hardware. These schools enrol over 55,000 students. With the additional threat of COVID-10 and the limitations it presents, schools now need to launch the new academic year remotely, and urgently need the skills and means to do so.
Here’s what the explosion means for vulnerable groups in Lebanon
“The scale of the loss from the Beirut explosions is so vast it is likely every single person in Lebanon has been touched by this terrible event,” says the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Najat Rochdi.
This disaster comes after a year of accelerating crises in Lebanon. Increasing poverty, food scarcity, rising prices, electricity shortages, a global pandemic, and economic collapse have left 6.8 million Lebanese in precarious circumstances.
Vulnerable communities are especially at risk.
There are 1.5 million Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Lebanon, 70% of whom live below the poverty line. The situation for refugees in Lebanon is now dire.
Ten to fifteen percent of the Lebanese population has a physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disability, and there was already a systemic lack of rights, resources, and services available to them. Children with disabilities are frequently denied admission to school. In the wake of the explosion, human rights for people with disabilities are at risk, and opportunities and support will be scarce.
Youth in Lebanon already faced surging unemployment rates, with over 30,000 young people graduating into unemployment each year. We know youth are creating massive networks of support following the explosion, leading recovery efforts; but to sustain this nation-building momentum, they will need skills and opportunities.
This is why we’re fundraising.
At DOT Lebanon, our team invests in the power of youth, women, refugees and people with special needs, helping them become innovators and leaders in their communities.
The work that our team is doing in Lebanon is creating jobs, providing work readiness skills, and ensuring the most marginalized community members can access and create opportunities.
Youth in need while also at the forefront of recovery
Our team is reaching out to hundreds of people who have participated in DOT programs to check on their safety and security.
We’ve been inspired by the outpouring of support that the world has provided to Lebanon in the wake of this tragedy. Fundraisers have been set up to support immediate relief efforts, food security, and reconstruction. In Lebanon, people are stepping up to repair the homes of their neighbours, provide shelter, share food, and rebuild.
But many are still in need.
As a part of our outreach efforts, we heard from Mira, a young woman who was trained in digital skills by DOT Lebanon and later became a skilled freelancer through the DOT-incubated platform, B.O.T., which connects marginalized workers to freelance digital jobs.
Mira was caring for her four-year old niece and newborn nephew when the explosion hit Beirut on August 4th. “I was terrified,” she said, sharing that her niece asked her if they were going to die.
With the economy in shambles, hundreds of thousands now unhoused in Lebanon, limited food, and no employment prospects, Mira feels helpless: “We are worried about our future.”
Youth are also at the forefront of the recovery efforts.
The United Nation Information Centre (UNIC) has commended the overwhelming participation of youth in relief work.
“The new generation is taking things into their own hands. We are the ones working for this because we believe in the future of Lebanon,” fifteen-year-old Emma Eleiman told Morocco World News.
Initiatives like lb.support, a group of over 100 young volunteers (which includes members of DOT Lebanon’s staff team) who have provided food aid and labour to rebuild homes and businesses, were able to clean and complete immediate repairs on 30 homes and businesses in just two days.
Your donation to our fundraiser will mean that youth, refugees, women, and persons with disabilities will be able to meaningfully engage in Lebanon’s reconstruction efforts because we will be able to ensure that they have their critical immediate needs met, followed by the skills required to build back Lebanon.
A note about this fundraising campaign
This campaign is being run via JustGiving, a fundraising platform through which DOT UK has set up a UK-registered charitable profile. You can donate through our JustGiving campaign page in many different currencies. DOT UK is registered with Fundraising Regulator.
If you are in Canada and would like to receive a Canadian charitable donation receipt for a charitable tax credit, you have the option of donating through DOT’s CanadaHelps campaign page.
In both cases, 100% of your donation will go directly to benefit the urgent needs of youth, women, refugees, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups in Lebanon; all campaign costs will be covered by DOT UK and DOT Lebanon.