Lebanon (MNN) – Lebanon was a country with four million people, but since the war started in Syria, 1.6 million Syrian refugees have flooded the nation.
The spike in population has limited places for refugees to stay. Many are living in slums or overpriced apartments that have many problems. Apartments are so expensive for some refugees that multiple families are living in one apartment together.
Some property and building owners have taken advantage of these situations and spiked the prices for poorly constructed housing.
“People that own a little bit of land, or some property, or apartments, they will exploit Syrian refugees to get income out of this and they can charge a lot because the refugees don’t have other options,” Horizons International’s Pierre Houssney says.
“There’s really a lack of safety net in society for these Syrian refugees because nobody cares and the people that do care cannot care enough just because of the sheer numbers of them.”
Houssney shares the story of a boy named Mohammed whose family lived in an illegally constructed home in Beirut. The house was built on top of an apartment building and the electricity had not been installed correctly.
As Mohammed and his family were leaving their home one day, they looked back and saw it engulfed in flames. Their home and all their possessions were destroyed.
Houssney explains, “When something like a tragedy like this happens, they don’t have insurance where they can restore their home. The fabric of society, it just has a big gaping hole that they fall through.”
The government told Mohammad’s family that they weren’t allowed to move back to their home because it was an illegal structure. They were left with nothing – no belongings and no money. They were forced to live on the streets.
School of Hope
However, Mohammad attends Horizons International’s School of Hope, a school for refugee children living in Lebanon.
He told his teachers what had happened. Houssney says, “We’ve been able to raise a little bit of funds just from the people that support the school so that we could get them a place to stay.”
As a way to show the Love of Jesus, School of Hope helped to provide for Mohammad and his family. But still, not all of their needs are met.
“They’re in an empty apartment now. They don’t have any possessions to speak of other than the clothes that were on their back at the time when they had just left their house.”
Houssney shares that Mohammad’s story of loss is not rare.
“It’s a very sad situation and we’re seeing things like this happen in Lebanon all over the place.”
But, there can be stories of hope like Mohammad’s as well. Horizons International’s School of Hope speaks life and the Word of God into kids’ hearts and they could use your support in continuing to do so.
“We appreciate your prayers and support especially for School of Hope, which is our school for refugee kids. We have 98 mostly Muslim-background students that we’re sharing the love of Christ and education with. We’re hoping to expand that number from 98 students to 120 students for the fall semester.”
Come into children’s lives and the lives of their families. Show the grace, mercy, and provision of God by encouraging them through Horizons International.
One of the most important actions to take is praying for the refugees and for those who have been exploited and may be in danger due to housing complications.
There are other ways to encourage refugees as well through donations, mission trips, and, Houssney says, “I think each one of us has to go before God in prayer and say ‘Lord, what do you want me to do? This is what I have. It’s all for you.’ And I believe that when people do that, God does inspire them to action each in his own way.”
Houssney says the biggest need for the Church in Lebanon is that God would raise up servant-hearted leaders that strive to empower others in the name of Jesus. Please be praying God would raise up believers to stand firm in His name and lead others to do the same.