In the elevated and mountainous parts of Lebanon, the winter months often bring intense cold. For Syrian refugees prohibited from building permanent housing and, increasingly, for the growing ranks of vulnerable Lebanese citizens and Palestinian refugees as well, the cold season is dangerous and expensive. With the cost of heating fuel and clothing soaring, many families struggle to keep warm.
Anera’s winterization campaign, supported by Islamic Relief USA, has been in full swing in Lebanon in recent months. Implemented with our local partners Al Mouwasat Association in Saida and the Social Communication Center in Beirut, the project manufactures and distributes warm clothing to the most vulnerable families in preparation for the winter. The campaign hired 65 vocational sewing students to make winter garments for distribution to 7,400+ people.
The intersecting and mutually reinforcing program goals are what distinguishes this winterization project: the sewing course students learn a trade and earn money manufacturing winter clothes, while other vulnerable families in the coldest parts of the country get vital winter gear to stay warm.
We are distributing the winter garments to vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Akkar and the Bekaa Valley.
Aya is the assistant general manager at a sewing factory in Saida that is participating in the project. She says, “In addition to the knowledge and abilities [the sewing students] gained and the financial benefit they received, there was also an internal benefit, which was their sense of pride at having been a part of a project that helped many of their communities endure Lebanon's harsh winter. Giving young people the chance to volunteer and assist others teaches them that any impact they can have, no matter how small, will eventually have a greater ripple effect.”
Baraa, a 20-year-old Lebanese sewing student, assisted in the production of winter clothing. He says, “I dropped out of school a long time ago. It was difficult to find a job or a profession that would allow me to build a future for myself. I began my sewing career with Anera during the corona pandemic, where we made masks that were given to camps and the less fortunate. After that, I took part in all of the courses offered to further my knowledge and abilities, as well as for the satisfaction of knowing that you may have put a smile on the faces of children by protecting them from the winter's chill with your designs.”