Diakonia - People change the world
Ezz Eddine and his mother Besan Ezz Eddine with his mother Besan in their house in Nahr el-Berid Camp. Photo: Alice Chlouk

Legal aid can improve the lives of families in distress

The war in Syria has affected the lives of many youngsters; it affects their health and their psychological well-being. Besan has endured many hardships throughout her stay in the camp including health problems and discrimination. Regardless, she is receiving legal support that enables her son Ezz Eddine to continue his studies. This support has given hope to Besan and her son for a better future.

“Before the legal intervention of Association Najdeh, my son Ezz Eddine was very worried about not being able to enroll in school to the point he could not sleep at night. With the legal intervention, my son’s emotional health improved,” says Besan, a Palestinian refugee coming from Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. 

Fleeing Syria and the hurdles faced in Lebanon

Besan escaped the war with her family and took refuge in the Naher el Berid camp in northern Lebanon where she lives today with her husband and three sons.

“At first we stayed in a garage, my husband and I suffered a lot from financial difficulties, my children lost everything from their belongings to beloved family members,” says Besan.

Upon their arrival, they could not afford to pay the fees imposed to regulate their stay in Lebanon. This hindered her children’s enrolment in school and had negative impact on Ezz Eddine’s health with loss of hearing and stuttering. With Association Najdeh’s legal and financial intervention, the family was granted a legal residency permit and Ezz Eddine is now preparing to sit for his official examination in Lebanon. In addition, he received psychological support to help him overcome the trauma he has been through during his escape to Lebanon.

”We are all Palestinians”

“People in Lebanon need to understand that first and foremost we are refugees and we are all Palestinian whether living in Lebanon or elsewhere,” says Besan

Another salient challenge this family faced was the high level of discrimination within Palestinian communities in Lebanon. In fact, Palestinian-Lebanese living inside the camps considered the new arriving refugees as “Syrians”. As a result, the children faced discrimination from their fellow classmates and teachers.  In addition, medical care is only provided to people with financial means.

Indeed, Besan suffers from several health problems that she cannot treat due to financial hardship and discrimination.  In addition, finding an employment was difficult for newly arrived refugees, and NGOs that offer in-kind assistance are selective in their assistance. Yet, with all the hardships this family has been through, their situation is getting better with the help of Najdeh.

Tremendous improvement

“My son’s psychological health improved tremendously, he used to be scared of losing a member of the family the same way he had to be separated from the rest of the family back home. He is living a normal life today like the rest of the children his age,” says Besan. 

By: Natacha Moukannas