Habitat for Humanity Lebanon
Habitat's work in Lebanon
Habitat for Humanity Lebanon
Since 2001, HFHL has reached across economic and social divisions to identify, understand and confront the causes and realities of inadequate shelter throughout Lebanon. HFHL strives to fulfill its mission by building, rebuilding, renovating and rehabilitating houses through partnership models to reach the families in need of housing services across Lebanon.
The housing need in Lebanon
From 1975 until the early nineties, civil war in Lebanon destroyed not only lives, homes and infrastructure, but also its fragile society. An estimated one million people were displaced by fighting, and hundreds of thousands were injured, killed or disappeared. The damage to property alone was US$25 billion. Many more homes and lives were destroyed in the July–August 2006 war which also displaced one million people and damaged more than 100,000 houses. Reconstruction from these wars left Lebanon heavily in debt, and continued political unrest has prevented its economy from recovering fully. Unemployment is around 20 percent and many jobs pay very low wages, despite the high cost of living, which traps families in a cycle of poverty. Rapid urbanization due to displacement and economic deprivation has resulted in ghettos of poverty in Beirut and other cities. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, neighboring Lebanon has been suffering from a huge influx of Syrian refugees, with the numbers nearing the million. The latter has been straining the housing industry and is expected to cause water shortages.
How Habitat addressed the need in Lebanon
HFHL addresses the housing need through the Housing and Micro Finance Program and through the Orphans and Vulnerable Groups program. HFHL is also currently studying the feasibility of a WASH response through providing hygiene kits, light solar lamps and water filters.
Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Lebanon:
- Housing microfinance programs
In partnership with the Lebanese Association for Development (Al Majmoua), HFHL offers microloans, specially designed for home improvement to people who would otherwise not have access to credit. Current homes are in desperate need of restoration: dark, damp and overcrowded, with a variety of specific repair needs. HFH through Micro Build provides wholesale loans to al Majmoua while HFHL provides Construction Technical Assistance and monitors the housing micro loans disbursements which allow families to finally change these long-standing problems. In collaboration with Dialogue and Development, HFHL has sought to use housing as a vehicle for reconciliation and community building among the disparate sects of Lebanon’s Saida region, by providing loans to low-income families for home repairs, renovations and/or construction. HFHL and Dialogue and Development have provided housing solutions while at the same time strengthening the social infrastructure of villages. Families were selected, without discrimination, on the basis of need for adequate shelter, ability to repay loans, and willingness to participate in the Habitat program.
- Orphans and vulnerable groups
HFH Lebanon works in partnership with local NGOs that focus on vulnerable families to find and address the most urgent housing problems throughout the country. The families in this program are mostly headed by widows, single parents, have disabled members or suffer from financial and social burdens. Home repairs for these families include installing proper sanitation for kitchens and bathrooms, reinforcing unsafe structures through column installation, and waterproofing or replacing roofs.
- Financial literacy
Habitat Lebanon has started a series of trainings for homeowners or potential homeowners in financial literacy. These trainings will not only help families to manage their personal finances and make their loan payments on time, but will also encourage them to plan for the future, helping vulnerable families to take steps towards self-sufficiency.
Meet a Habitat family
In a small house in the village of Qsaybeh, lives a single mother, Afaf, and her daughter. The young girl was born with a pelvic defect and requires costly medical care. Afaf ’s home was built many years ago and equipped with a Turkish-style toilet, which makes using the bathroom extremely difficult for someone with a pelvic defect. Habitat rebuilt Afaf´s bathroom and its infrastructure. The house is now safer, cleaner and more practical for its members. Another positive surprise was that Afaf ’s community saw the renovation of her house and offered to help her in the project. As her income is very low, they all chipped in so she could pay back the small loan that Habitat asked from her.
What you can do
You can help Lebanese families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Europe, Middle East and Africa or lead your own. For more information go to: habitat.org/gv
Establish a strong and rewarding tithe partnership to help build houses globally! Quote 866800, LEBANON on your checks sent to: Habitat for Humanity International, Attn: Affiliate Tithe, 121 Habitat St. Americus, GA 31709
To learn more about Habitat projects in Lebanon or in other parts of the region, please contact us.
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa
Fungai Mukorah, Program Development Manager
Main country facts: Gained independence in 1943
Population: 5.3 million
Urbanization: 87 percent live in cities
Life expectancy: 77 years
Unemployment rate: 20 percent
Population living below poverty line: 28 percent
Find more country facts on:
CIA The World Factbook –Lebanon
When the program started: 2001
Families served: More than 4,500
Volunteers hosted: More than 80
Housing Solutions: Incremental building, Repairs/improvements and rehabilitation