Ksarnaba town, is located on the central eastern side of Mount Lebanon in Ba’albeck-Hermel. It sits at an altitude of 1,190m above sea level and is 80 km from Beirut.
It is an area controlled by the Hezbollah and was identified as the poorest village in Lebanon by the United Nations.
Ksarnaba’s economy is agro-industry and agriculture. At present, the workers earn less than $4 a day. During the civil war, Ksarnaba was a top producer of opium and cannabis. Although the government cracked down on most of these farms, there are still some who continue to plant these crops at grave risk to their lives.
Ksarnaba attracts a few tourists because of its Roman temple, spring water sources, and a Roman castle ruins. However, the infrastructure of the village is sadly lacking, perhaps because it is isolated. Services like a basic sewage system, water access to all homes, public schools, and well-paved roads leading to the village.
70% of children not in school
Although Ksarnaba has two private schools, the secondary public school shut down in 2010 from lack of students. Many of the children work instead of study and do not even have official documents like birth certificates. About 36% of the population cannot read or write while 70% of the children are not attending school.
Ksarnaba and the surrounding areas became the settlement areas for Syrians fleeing their country’s violence. The Bekaa Governorate, where Ksarnaba is located, borders Syria and over 373,000 Syrian refugees are officially registered with the United Nations there. Many of the refugees are women and children and they live in tents. These families have to deal with almost no sanitation and unsafe drinking water. This leads to the spread of diseases of which the children are most vulnerable to since they do not get proper immunisation.
Our work in Ksarnaba
SOS Children’s Village was established in 2005 as the fourth in Lebanon. Here we care for children who have been orphaned and abandoned. They grow up in one of the SOS families which consist of a group of children cared for by an SOS Mother.
The need to have an SOS Children’s Village in Ksarnaba was critical especially after being declared as a “catastrophic region” by the UN, being the most isolated, poorest, and most neglected part of Lebanon.
Support for local families
Our social centre supports almost 1,000 children from the local area by offering them a nurturing and safe haven. Children gain access to good nutrition, health care, and education. Their parents are trained to have new skills that would help them earn extra income. Our goal is to make as many families financially stable. In 2014, we helped 14 families set up their own businesses, including a catering service, a grocery store and a dry cleaning business.
Our counsellors help to soothe the trauma experienced by children during the country's conflicts. They are provided with free medical, psychological, psycho-motor, and speech therapy to help them recover as best as possible. We also offer tuition aid for parents who are unable to afford to send their children to school.
Children growing up in turbulent societies are often most in need of help. We care for the most vulnerable children in Ksarnaba. You can show that you care for them too, by becoming a child sponsor today.