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30.11.2021 | Blog

Waste Disposal in a Refugee Camp

The Cash for Work initiative in a Lebanese refugee camp allows residents to complete training in waste disposal and keep the camp clean in exchange for a wage.

Drei Männer bei der Müllbeseitigung: Ein Mann wirft mit einer großen Schaufel etwas in eine grüne Tonne.
Nouredine and his team tackle the waste problem in the refugee camp – and ensure that the residents stay healthy © Welthungerhilfe

Noureddine and his family live in the Ein El-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon. They fled Syria years ago and have been living in the camp without prospects ever since. At the age of 13, Noureddine already had to work after school to help his family make ends meet. After school, he collected scrap metal from dumpsters to sell for money.

One day, as he was searching through the trash for salable material, he found a small object made of metal. He pulled it out and began to examine it. Then something shocking happened: the metal object was an explosive device – and it exploded in Noureddine's hands. He lost his left hand and also suffered a serious injury to his leg. When he finished school, he had difficulty finding a job. Because he has only one hand, many thought he could not work.

Ein Foto von Noureddine.
Noureddine helps keep the refugee camp where he lives clean. © Welthungerhilfe

In April 2021 he joined a Cash for Work initiative, which was jointly launched by Welthungerhilfe (WHH), Christoffel-Blindenmission and the local organization Jafra. The participants are being trained in waste disposal and equipped with tools and safety equipment such as gloves, masks and disinfectant.

Earning Money Through Waste Disposal

They then clean the streets of the refugee camps in small teams. This is an important job: it helps to keep residents healthy, especially the children who play in the streets. Participants receive a wage of 50,000 Lebanese pounds (about 29 euros), which helps cover their basic needs. People who cannot participate in the Cash for Work program for health reasons, for example, receive unconditional financial support.

Ein Foto von Noureddine.

Our work is very important for the camp. We keep the streets and neighborhoods clean.

Noureddine Lives in a refugee camp in Lebanon with his family

Majority of Refugees in Lebanon Live below the Poverty Line

Welthungerhilfe supports Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon as well as the host community with cash and training opportunities. Almost every fifth inhabitant in Lebanon is a refugee. This is an enormous burden on the country's already weakened economy and also leads to social conflict. Food and everyday goods are scarce and expensive, wages are low and the unemployment rate is enormously high. The majority of refugees and nearly 45 percent of the Lebanese population live below the poverty line. They are unable to afford the rapidly rising prices for food and basic necessities.  

The job as a cleaner may be only a small relief for Noureddine and the other participants. However, the training he has received gives him new knowledge, motivation and self-confidence, which he can put to good use for his future.

How Welthungerhilfe Helps People in Lebanon

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