Give the gift of hope for refugees

Thousands of people fleeing the conflicts in Syria have settled in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, where refugees now outnumber the local population. Many are living in informal settlements with little means to meet their basic needs.

Yet there is hope.

The local municipalities are making considerable efforts to welcome the refugees, particularly in giving the Syrian children an education, and a new school has been built. A Rocha Lebanon is also working with the local communities to create nature parks, providing green space in this area of rapid urban growth. At Mekse, refugees are being employed to help carry out the work: planting, weeding, irrigating, cutting grass, providing security and clearing rubbish from the site. In time, this will be a safe open space for public recreation and environmental education, as well as a habitat for birds, reptiles and invertebrates.

This Christmas, you can give the gift of hope for refugees by purchasing a Gift with a Difference. Buy a plant for Mekse Nature Park; give the opportunity of a nature-based livelihood to a Syrian refugee; or sponsor a hands-on nature lesson for school children at the nearby Qab Elias Environmental Project.

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