Kfarhay is a village around 40km southwest of Tripoli. It is located in the North Governorate of Lebanon, one of the poorest and most deprived regions in the country. Life for families living here is extremely difficult, with rising costs of living, episodes of violence, a decline in tourism and an economic crisis. In some areas of Tripoli, as many as 60% of residents are poor, with many more at risk of falling into poverty. This region also has one of the highest rates of refugees: one in three people have fled from conflict. Refugees live in overcrowded camps where life is incredibly hard.
Since 1995, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Kfarhay.
The recent influx of refugees has increased competition in the labour market, resulting in a fall in wages, and an increase in unemployment, affecting both refugee and Lebanese communities alike. Refugees face additional challenges over their legal status in the country, with many unable to obtain work permits. As a result, they work in informal jobs, underpaid and without contracts. Consequently, up to 90% of refugees in Lebanon live below the poverty line. Children who are refugees are at an increased risk of sexual and physical violence, exploitation, disease and malnutrition, and separation from family members.
While around 6% of girls in Lebanon are married before their 18th birthday, around 30% of displaced girls aged 15-19 years in Lebanon are married. Marriages are often arranged by families to protect their daughters from sexual abuse within camps and to provide girls with security, as well as to reduce family economic burden. Early marriage violates a girl’s right to health, education, and opportunity. When girls marry young, they miss out on developing the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need. As a result, girls and their families are more likely to live in poverty and repeat the cycle for another generation.