The Syrian conflict is now in its 7th year creating devastating flow-on effects to Lebanon’s deepening poverty and exacerbating development constraints.
With the influx of refugees, demands for resources are increasing whilst resources are being increasingly limited and constrained.
Refugee youth are made especially vulnerable and are faced with having to drop-out of school. Those who are employed face economic and physical exploitation in their jobs. Islamic Relief Australia has been working in south Lebanon to tackle youth unemployment and underemployment amongst Palestinian refugee communities.
Bara’a was sponsored by a development program run by IRAUS, in partnership with IR Lebanon, to complete vocational training in ‘Hair Dressing and Make-Up’ and has now opened up her salon in her home in the Rashidieh Palestinian refugee camp. This opportunity would never have been afforded by Bara’a who lives with her parents and brother. While her father has a stable job, his wages do not cover all her family needs. Along with 29 other youths, Bara’a was enrolled in a 6-month qualifying training program in a skill area that each youth chose.
IRAUS was also able to cover their registration and transportation fees to motivate active participation and attendance. At the end of their training, each student received a specialised kit and certification of their vocational skill. 24 of the youth are now working in their majors.
Bara’a, “With this opportunity I was able to open my own salon. Yes, it’s in my house but it’s better than nothing. I hope to open my own salon outside the camp where I can have my full freedom and space.”
IRAUS followed up with the students in the 6 months post-graduation to promote positive behaviour and basic life skills in order to guide the youths in job seeking and job motivation, and help integrate refugee youth into their host communities. The students were enrolled into two sessions each week on leadership, self-confidence, communication, and risk awareness. Teachers and the principle were able to be witness to positive change in effective communication, conflict management and accepting differences amongst the youth.
This World Skills Day, IRAUS proudly invites everyone in recognising how skills and training can improve livelihoods and communities. We aim to raise greater awareness to how skill acquisition and development empowers individuals, broadens choices around life and work, and raises self-esteem and worth.