Campaign successfully funded on: 21 Jul,2015
Support our Community Center to Keep Shatila Connected, Empowered and Heard
Basmeh and Zeitooneh is a grassroots Lebanese organization, dedicated to serving Syrian refugees and vulnerable communities in Lebanon. It operates through a series of community centers, whereby the local population has access to small-scale, inclusive and developmental projects, through these shared focal points in highly marginalized areas. The first, and largest, community center is based in Shatila, a long-established refugee camp which has suffered from neglect at the hands of the state and which has been put under even greater pressure since the start of the Syrian conflict. The center there runs vital, needs-led programs for all vulnerable members of the community, yet its capacity to provide this support is currently under threat. The international decline in funding for Syrian refugee programs has greatly impacted on-the-ground efforts and has put a significant number of Basmeh and Zeitooneh’s projects at risk. It is for this reason that we have launched a crowdfunding campaign, reaching out to the local and international community for financial support, in order to continue to provide services which have proved vital to an increasingly marginalized community. Below you will find detailed information about our organization, Shatila refugee camp, the programs we are looking to support, and where the funds will be directed. Thank you for reading, and for being part of our campaign!
What is Basmeh and Zeitooneh?
Basmeh and Zeitooneh grew out of a small-scale volunteer initiative, which set out to respond to the growing humanitarian crisis resulting from the war in Syria. Since then, it has developed rapidly, from the provision of basic relief support to the establishment of five community centers across Lebanon, each of which provides services to the most vulnerable members of the surrounding communities. The center in Shatila was the first of these five to be established. Since then, it has become the largest and most inclusive of its kind within the refugee camp, reaching out to women, men, young people and children. We currently provide vital services to over 3,000 families residing in and outside the camp – an estimated 18,000 individuals.
Today, we run ten relief and development programs across these centers: relief support, medical provision, shelter renovation, a school, vocational training, a women’s embroidery workshop, protection and psychosocial support, peace education and a small grants program for women, as well as an arts and cultural center. For more information about any of these projects, go to our new website, at http://www.basmeh-zeitooneh.org/.
Unlike the majority of NGOs based in Lebanon, Basmeh and Zeitooneh operates out of the communities it seeks to serve, where access to grassroots support is often minimal. The programs are, accordingly, entirely needs-led, and the local population can easily access the center and access the services on offer. Moreover, the approach of the organization is to provide capacity-building support within the team itself, by hiring and training individuals from within these communities, and creating jobs in a highly restricted labour market.
Shatila Refugee Camp
Shatila was established as a Palestinian refugee camp in 1949, and since then has remained a highly neglected and marginalized area, both socially and economically. The camp lacks many of the state-run services that operate in other parts of the country, and while certain services are offered by UNRWA, these often fall short and do not account for the increasingly large population of Syrian refugees residing there. The camp is just one square kilometer, yet currently houses an estimated 42,000 people, almost doubling its population since the start of the Syrian crisis. Regardless of the density of the camp, Syrian and Palestinian-Syrian refugees have sought shelter there, under exceptionally harsh conditions, including lack of clean water, frequent electricity outs, lack of jobs, poor healthcare and an increasingly deteriorating infrastructure. It is in this context that Basmeh and Zeitooneh established its primary community center in Shatila, seeking to cater to the needs of its residents and offer services that enable them to live in greater dignity.
This primary center in Shatila, despite its local success and its crucial function within the refugee camp, is currently facing severe financial difficulties. This is seemingly as a result of fatigue on the part of both local and international donors to the Syrian humanitarian crisis, with a decline in funding for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, particularly those living in and around Beirut. This fatigue has been reflected in successive reductions in monthly food and medical aid offered by international organizations, and in the termination of Beirut-based projects. As a result, local grassroots organizations such as Basmeh and Zeitooneh have been put under far greater pressure to respond to continuing pressing needs. These funding reductions have also put five out of our ten projects in Shatila at risk, namely our Small Grants Program, Vocational Training Institute, Peace Education, Protection and Psychosocial Support, and the Arts and Cultural Center. These projects all seek to provide pathways for Syrians, Palestinians and vulnerable Lebanese to develop their skills, enhance their future prospects, and overcome trauma and anxiety resulting from struggles faced in Syria or within Lebanon. For Basmeh and Zeitooneh, programs such as the above are just as important as relief or medical programs, since they seek to allow their participants to support themselves and gain greater financial and social independence. We are, therefore, currently seeking to crowd-fund $120,000 over a period of six weeks, in order to keep these programs going and remain on the ground with the people of Shatila.
How Can You Help?
The campaign has been launched to raise $120,000 in total, which might seem a tall order in just six weeks. However, we are confident that by reaching out not only to our network of friends and supporters, but also to the wider community, we will be able to raise the necessary funds. You can support us by making a financial contribution through this platform, however big or small, or simply by clicking ‘share’ and spreading the word about the campaign as widely as possible. All donations will go directly into the five programs outlined above, and a breakdown of the direct impact of financial contributions can be found below:
$50 covers one person’s costs for an entire month of education at the Vocational Institute
$100 provides protection services for one month to a woman who has been exposed to sexual and gender-based violence
$200 covers both mainstream and extracurricular education for one child for a period of four months
$300 covers the costs for one woman’s business training through our Small Grants Program
$500 covers one artistic workshop for young people at the Arts and Cultural Center
$800 secures one Small Grant for a woman looking to set up a new business
$1000 provides rent support for three months for a vulnerable family in Shatila refugee camp, as part of our Protection Program.
$25,000: We will be able to cover the costs for the Vocational Training Institute for a period of one year, with 600 individuals from the community able to take free literacy, English and computing classes.
$50,000: Along with the coverage of the Vocational Training Institute, we will be able to cover the running of the Arts and Cultural Center for a period of one year. This will mean that art, film, theatre, music and literature activities will remain open and free of charge to young people living in Shatila, and the new public library, the only one within the camp, will remain open.
$75,000: With this amount raised, we will be able to cover the Vocational Training Institute, the Arts and Cultural Center, along with one year of the Peace Education program. This program will allow 700 children who have been affected by war trauma to receive psychosocial support through interactive sessions, which are designed to provide channels for psychological release and self-expression.
$100,000: This amount raised will allow us to cover the Vocational Training Institute, the Arts and Cultural Center, the Peace Education program, and the Protection Program for the course of one year. The program will provide 200 refugee women who have been exposed to war trauma and are vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence with psychosocial support sessions, and protection pathways for SGBV prevention. The program also offers sessions in gender equality, child protection and non-violent communication, while working to refer women with urgent needs to external specialists.
$120,000: If we reach our target of $120,000, we will be able to cover all the aforementioned projects, as well as the Small Grants Program for the course of one year. This program allows women from the local with little prior working experience, and who are under severe financial pressure, to enrol in a business and entrepreneurship, and apply for a grant to set up their own small business. This program provides a pathway for economic empowerment, while breaking down gendered cycles of poverty by allowing marginalized women from the refugee and host populations to gain access to a source of independent income.
There are no updates for this project yet.
Basmeh and Zeitooneh is a grassroots organization, committed to serving refugees and vulnerable communities in Lebanon, through five community centers across the country. We run educational, relief, livelihoods, protection and cultural programs, and aim to serve as an inclusive and…Full biography