Bhersaf is a village in Mount Lebanon and home to less than 2,000 people. The village is located near the small town of Bikfaya, with 20,000 inhabitants, and around 30 km from Lebanon’s capital, Beirut. Around 40% of Lebanon’s population resides in Mount Lebanon.
Lebanon is also home to a large number of refugees, who often live in overcrowded camps and informal settlements. Access to services, such as health and education are becoming strained as the number of people arriving increase, and children face insecurity.
Since 1969, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Bhersaf.
Experiencing the highest rate of inflation and rising prices of basic goods, 84% of households do not have enough money to cover necessities. Since 2020, food prices have soared by 570% resulting in at least 23% of children going to bed hungry. The situation is so bad that 70% of households need to borrow money to buy food, while some are forced to sell their furniture to feed families. Children are disproportionately affected to the effects of poverty. They face long-term consequences for their life as adults, in terms of educational outcomes, physical and intellectual development, and psychological health.
With the country in economic crisis, at least 1 in 10 children are sent to work, and 15% of families are stoping their children’s education altogether. More than 700,000 children are at risk of never returning to a classroom due to rising poverty. Balancing work and school has a negative impact on educational attainment, either resulting in under- performance or children dropping out early. Child labour further robs children of their childhood. It deprives them of their right to education, exposes them to violence and physical and mental harm, and traps them in intergenerational poverty.