... and happy 2014, year of hope!
The situation in Syria is getting worse every day. According to the UN, more than two-thirds of Syria’s population has been displaced. Lebanon alone is hosting between 1 and 2 million refugees- about a third of its own population. The stories we have heard and seen in our work in the field remind me of the worst memories of our history in Germany and Europe. Our fears to see the Syrian Revolution being pushed into sectarian war are turning into reality. The Syrian regime and other actors have chosen this path in cold blood to maintain their grasp on power. But there is hope. We are amazed by the deep sense of humanity we encounter in every conversation with Syrian refugees.
In July 2013, we started our operations in the North of Lebanon with the opening of our first Peace Centre for the youth in need. We united all major communities of the region around this common cause. At the big Peace Iftar we organised in Ramadan, Christians and Muslims of the region were united in their solidarity with Syrian refugees. Sunnis and Alawites, who are on the opposite sides of the conflict, were praying together for the first time here. Until the end of the year, 20 international volunteers stayed at our Peace Centre and joined our local staff in the teaching of languages and the development of the arts. More than 300 young refugees are receiving regular education now. We are also providing them with psychosocial support and material aid where needed.