An open letter from the Little Sisters
Dbayeh refugee camp is located in East Beirut. It hosts 700 Christian families (around 4,500 persons), one third of whom are Lebanese and two thirds of whom are Palestinian. During the past few years, new refugees came, escaping the war in Syria. They are estimated between 80 and 100 families.
Most of the Lebanese fathers are fishermen and soldiers whereas the Palestinian ones are day laborers at construction sites. Most of the families are destitute due to the very high cost of living, very low salaries, and an overflow of unskilled foreign laborers. Young people are forced to leave school too early to sustain their families... They work as apprentices at car repair shops and/or waiters in restaurants. Children have scarce possibilities for leisure. They watch TV or wander down the streets of the neighborhood.
Because of the history of civil war and the regional conflicts, the relationship between Lebanese and Palestinians and Syrians is somehow tense. The war left scars and some Palestinians and Syrians are not embraced by Lebanese because of political conflicts, and some others are not embraced because of religious differences.
Living in a refugee camp means that the population lives in very poor conditions and that most facilities are lacking. People often come to our small fraternity for help. We share with them daily in living in the joyful and sorrowful events.
We – the Little Sisters of Nazareth – are a Belgian foundation that started in 1966 and we live in Dbayeh camp since 1987. We follow the spirituality of Charles de Foucauld. We live in fraternities of three sisters per household.
We try to offer services as one offers a service to ones sister or neighbor. We believe that every person is a child of God and worth giving one's life for.
At Dbayeh, one of us stays at home to welcome the people who knock at the door, to listen and to help them. One sister does the housework. One sister works in the camp.
Our main activities are as follows:
– Medical assistance. One sister who is a nurse goes daily around the camp providing basic medical help, provide first aid and dressings, suturing, and removing of stitches, controlling HTA and Diabetes, we also provide medicines and pay for medical exams (ultra sounds, X-rays, scans...) and surgeries, as there are almost no existing public services or health insurance. The costs are very high, and we are not able to provide the necessary help for all the families. We have to limit our help based on the donations we get and on the priorities of emergencies.
A lot of persons in the camp suffer from chronic diseases: High blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, mental diseases, which require an expensive and permanent treatment.
– Food rations to families without income, and help for the kids' tuition and scholarship and transportation fees to schools.
– Social support, paying bills, rent and electricity and water...
As mentioned above, the needs are huge and our budget is limited. We always welcome all kind of support to continue helping those who suffer, which is our mission towards the Kingdom of God.
We remain yours respectfully, and thank you in advance for your help.
Little Sisters of Nazareth, Dbayeh Camp