"It’s an amazing project because they took us to the Qasmieh River, which is my first time I’ve ever seen a river in my life."

How it began

Lebanon was the site of our first project in 2004 after Roz, Rachel and Kathy identified a need for education and social support in the Al Bass refugee camp. The camp is home to Palestinian refugees, unable to access work, training or higher education in Lebanon.
The annual summer project has continued ever since in partnership with local NGO Sour Community Disability Project (SCDP). In 2014 we provided daily activities to 100 young people living in the camp.

Our approach

The project gives young people a safe place to play during the summer and aims to improve numeracy skills and literacy skills in Arabic and English. Youth workers are recruited from within the camp, giving young adults the opportunity to gain the skills needed to gain employment afterwards.

The project is also unique in welcoming disabled young people, who are excluded from education and most other activities in the camp.

Highlights from the project include:

• Literacy, arts and crafts, and other recreational activities
• Weekly topic themes around cultural, environment, health and moral issues
• Trips outside the camp boundaries to the surrounding area
• An annual graduation ceremony
• Performance of Palestinian song, dance, poetry and other traditions for their friends and family

A real challenge in recent years in the camp has been the increasing numbers of refugees entering from Syria. We have tried to address this, through increasing the number of places solely for these young refugees.
As a uniquely inclusive project in the Al Bass camp, we have focused on giving additional support to young people with academic, psychological and physical difficulties. Evaluations have shown that English literacy levels dramatically improve for participants during the project, giving them an excellent boost when they return to school after the summer.

Our impact

There have been a number of notable achievements in Al Bass:
• Improved confidence and self-esteem amongst the participants
• Youth workers receive training from local NGO Terre des Hommes and are appraised at the end of the project, helping to develop personally and professionally
• The reputation of the project extends to other camps in Lebanon
• Young Roots best practice has influenced a number of other NGOs operating in the region
• Forming bonds between different community groups in Al Bass