Close to 500,000 Palestinian refugees reside in Lebanon; more than half are scattered across 12 camps where they live in abject poverty. KinderUSA has focused primarily on Ein el-Hilweh, Nahr el-Bared, and Shatilah camps.
In southern Lebanon near the town of Saida, Ein el-Hilweh is the largest of all 12 camps. It was originally established in 1948 and is currently home to more than 47,500 refugees with families still living in the concrete rooms built by UNRWA in 1952.
North of Tripoli, the Nahr el-Bared camp used to be considered the most prosperous and functional refugee camp in all of Lebanon. In 2007 a conflict between Lebanese Armed Forces and a previously unknown group destroyed the camp and displaced many of the 40,000 residents. Lack of resources and other obstacles have impeded reconstruction so that over 27,000 people are still unable to return to their homes as of 2012.
The Shatila camp in southern Beirut is currently home to 8500 ‘registered’ Palestinian refugees. In 1982, Shatila camp along with its close neighbor Sabra, was the site of a horrific massacre of over 2000 men, women, and children that occurred at the time of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Since then the camp has suffered from squalid living conditions, rampant crime and a host of other problems facing both “registered” and “unregistered” Palestinians and other impoverished families that live there.
KinderUSA works with a broad range of partners implementing programs that target the most vulnerable children, focusing primarily educational development.