Lebanon (MNN) — Lebanon is seeing a massive exodus as people flee the collapsing economy and devastating inflation. In 2021, Lebanon had a 450% increase in emigration. Many of those leaving are young people.
We spoke with Heart For Lebanon’s Elio Constantine: “I would say that the biggest driving force for youth and anyone to leave Lebanon right now is the limited economic opportunities for them to make a decent living without being in debt, for them to be able to find a better future, better education for their kids, [and] better opportunities to prosper.”
Lebanon’s poverty rate has nearly doubled since 2019. Four years ago, 42% of the Lebanese population lived below the poverty line. Today, the national poverty rate is over 80%.
This also means most Lebanese families and young people can’t afford to leave the country, even if they wanted to. For those who stay, Heart For Lebanon connects with kids and teens through various educational and Gospel programs.
“Most of these children that we work with and help, their families do not have the opportunity to leave Lebanon,” says Constantine. “Most of them do not have the opportunity to take a vacation inside Lebanon. So getting a plane ticket or visa to leave the country is almost impossible for them.”
Pray for young people in Lebanon to find joy and hope in Christ that goes beyond their circumstances. Please also pray encouragement for the Church in Lebanon serving as the hands and feet of Jesus, even amidst their own struggles. Ask the Lord to be their comfort and strength.
Constantine says, “We give them a message of hope in a place where they think they have no hope at all, and if you grow up — wherever you go, if you stay in Lebanon or leave — have that message of hope stay with you forever.”
Header photo courtesy of Heart For Lebanon.