Lebanon: Philemon Project

Too many children in a tiny room without any toys and there is only a TV running. This is what an illegal day care looks like for migrant and refugee children in Lebanon. Now there is hope and protection for the toddlers and their parents "under God's rainbow".

Many migrants from Africa and Asia seek their fortune in Lebanon. "But their dream of a better life is dashed by harsh reality which involves low wages, long hours of work and poor living conditions," says Reverend Robert Hamd who is in charge of the Philemon Project. Since the migrants (most of them are women) do not come from an Arabian country, they do not benefit from a common language or a common cultural background, so they quickly end up on the fringes of Lebanese society. Their daily life often involves systematic discrimination and abuse.

For people from Africa and Asia, illegal and unlicensed day care centres for their children are often the only way they can go to work to earn money which their families urgently need to ensure their survival. But these day care centres resemble more a prison than a place to play. Sometimes the toddlers are tied to their chairs for hours on end.

A day care centre brings hope

This is why "Philemon Daycare", the Philemon child day care centre project, opened its doors in 2013 to support Lebanese children from poor families as well as migrant and refugee children. It also provides them with the best possible preschool programme. The centre is based on Christian and social values and intends to creating equal opportunities and closing any social or origin-related gap. The focal point is on children between the ages of one and four years.

One complete wing of the building, belonging to the Armenian Evangelical Church in the Beirut suburb of Nabaa, was renovated for the children and lovingly equipped with donated furniture and toys. Under the symbol of God's rainbow, the girls and boys have plenty of protected space to play in the large inner courtyard. The Philemon Daycare was founded as part of the Philemon Project of the National Evangelical Church in Beirut to support people on the fringes of Lebanese society. Since it started, it has helped the poor, the weak and the marginalised. The range of training courses has been expanded over many years. Computer and English courses take place every Saturday. Co-workers hand out food packages and cash gifts to people in need. In winter, a refugee camp is supplied with blankets and small heaters.

Your donation provides protection and hope to female migrants, refugees and their children in Lebanon.

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