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Habitat for Humanity, in partnership with CARE International, is addressing shelter needs among vulnerable Lebanese families and Syrian refugees living in Bourj Hammoud, in Beirut, Lebanon.

Lebanon, with a population of 4.4 million people, is currently hosting more than 1,180,000 registered Syrian refugees, equivalent to more than a quarter of the national population. In the absence of formal refugee camps, the vast majority of refugees live in high-density areas, deprived neighborhoods, and informal settlements characterised by substandard housing and overburdened infrastructure.

In 2015, Habitat for Humanity launched the first phase of its response to the crisis in Lebanon. Through a “one neighborhood” approach, Habitat for Humanity partnered with CARE International to provide housing assistance and renovations on an individual family level, as well as improvements at a community level (drainage, sewage systems, sanitation facilities, renovations of schools, clinics, etc.).

Meet Seranoush, 79, who has improved her home through this project. Seranoush lives in a converted attic in Bourj Hammoud, with her niece Mary, and Mary’s two sons.

Seranoush keeps her home in good order, and has a small balcony that she turned into an impromptu garden.

“You know, I can still take care of things,” she says with affection for her plants.

In Seranoush’s small home, her bathroom has been restored, with a proper toilet and shower, along with a door for privacy and protection, and general sanitary items – little things that are vital in helping ensure a life with dignity.

Seranoush’s niece, Mary, came to Beirut two and a half years ago from Aleppo. Mary’s house in Aleppo was hit by airstrikes and is uninhabitable.

“But my boys are here with me now, that’s what’s important, everything else can be recovered, ” says Mary.

Habitat for Humanity is grateful to everyone who has supported this project. A special thanks to Google, who provided support through Tides Foundation.

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