A safe space in the turmoil of crisis

CERF in underfunded emergencies: Lebanon

In January 2022, CERF allocated $8million from its Underfunded Emergencies (UFE) window for GBV and women’s empowerment in Lebanon.

Lebanon, Tripoli.  Sana, a 32-year-old mother of two, says Lebanon’s devastating economic crisis has taken a heavy toll on her family life.

Her husband hasn’t been able to get a job since a failed surgery affected his ability to walk properly. Sana was equally unsuccessful in finding work to support her family. She blames the economic crisis ­– which has left about one third of the population unemployed – as well as her partial hearing impairment.

Her daily struggle and her worries about her two boys and their futures, left her suffering from deep despair. Her family life was affected and she and her husband fought regularly. “I wanted to quit, I wanted to sleep and never wake up… I felt so depressed and miserable,”Sana said.

Eventually, following a neighbour’s advice, she sought help at a CERF-funded safe space run by Concern Worldwide, with support from UNFPA. “I resorted to Concern’s centre, as soon as my neighbour told me about their services,” said Sana. “I needed a place to regain my peace of mind.”

Initially, Sana found it difficult to trust people at the safe space and talk of the emotional abuse she said was inflicted by the people closest to her. After attending multiple sessions, Sana was able to speak out openly about her concerns. “I became less worried and felt more capable and confident,” she said.

Sana was also given cash assistance to support her and her family. “This month, I was finally able to buy vegetables and ingredients to prepare their favourite meals,” she said. She was also able to pay for educational support, which helped her children improve their school performance.

“It is a heavy weight lifted off my shoulders knowing that I am at ease with my family,” Sana said.

In January 2022, CERF allocated $8 million to Lebanon from its underfunded emergencies window, which included a grant to UNFPA to support two safe spaces in North Lebanon that promote women’s empowerment, and to prevent and respond to gender-based violence (GBV). The centres, run byConcern Worldwide, provide comprehensive services to 4,500 vulnerable Lebanese and Palestinian refugees.

More information on the CERF allocation.

CERF data hub (UFE 2022)