ICU works in Lebanon in partnership with the Charitable Chaldean Society (CCSL) on the project “RELIEF – Improvement of the living conditions of the most vulnerable members of the Iraqi refugee population belonging to the Christian-Chaldean minority in Lebanon (AID 01212/03/04) funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS). The initiative started in January 2021 and will last 24 months. It promotes a multi-sectorial intervention in to improve the quality and accessibility of the educational and psychosocial support services targeting the Iraqi community belonging to the Christian Chaldean minority offered by Saint Thomas Educational Center run by the Chaldean Charitable Society in Lebanon, local partner of the initiative. The educational center is located in Mount Lebanon Governorate, Metn District, in the Eastern outskirts of Beirut.
The General Objective of the project is to contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of the most vulnerable members of the Iraqi refugee population belonging to the Christian-Chaldean minority in Lebanon through the implementation of several activities: improvement of the school structure and the educational facilities offered by Saint Thomas educational center, implementation of recreational and psychosocial activities for students, families and teachers, empowerment of the CCSL staff, increasing the number of social cohesion opportunities between the Iraqi minority and the other communities living in the target area through the organization of sport and extra-curricular activities. The activities that will be implemented are in line with the two general objectives of the project: improvement of the sustainability, quality and accessibility of the services offered by Saint Thomas Educational Center for Iraqi minors who outside the informal and formal Lebanese school system and strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable Iraqi families belonging to the Christian-Chaldean minority in Lebanon. Moreover, the project aims to tighten fruitful collaborations with other organizations that work in the informal educational and protection fields and with those promoting resettlement programs.
The Iraqi refugee’s crisis still represents a central issue in Lebanon: as early as the war of 2003, Lebanon has become one of the destinations for thousands of Iraqi Christian displaced families who were living in Iraq, especially in the Baghdad region. The number of Iraqi displaced people has then dramatically increased between 2014 and 2016 because of the persecutions and episodes of political and religious violence against the Christian communities perpetuated by the Islamic State militias. Even now, many Iraqi displaced families arrive in Lebanon crossing the Syrian borders. The current number of Iraqi refugees belonging to the Christian Chaldean community hosted in Lebanon is around 6500 individuals, grouped into around 2000 families, most of which live in the project target area.