Children in Lebanon

Children in Lebanon suffer many hardships. Most recently, children have been affected by the latest conflicts. Over the past decade, there has been an increase in reports of children being abused, and experts believe that many more go unreported.

Many children are exploited and forced to work. There is a high number of children living and working on the streets in cities and in rural areas. Children can be found delivering groceries, working in small workshops or collecting rubbish for recycling. Girls are often “sold” by their parents, to work in domestic services.

Although the number of children attending pre-school is increasing, and the number of children who start school is very high, the drop-out rate remains a source of concern. It is estimated that over 32% of children between the ages of 12 and 13 drop out of school. Boys are likely to stop attending school earlier than girls. The rate of enrolment in secondary education drops significantly, to just 75%, and more girls attend secondary education than boys.

Around 400,000 child refugees have arrived from Syria; many have travelled without their family. About half of them do not go to school. In order to survive, they are work on the streets: begging, selling small goods or collecting garbage.

Our Children's Villages in Lebanon

We work in four permanent locations throughout the country. We also run emergency programmes to support refugees arriving from neighbouring Syria

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Bhersaf, Beirut

We began working in the country in 1966. Three years later the first SOS Children's Village was established in Bhersaf, inland from the capital Beirut. The Village has 12 family houses and is home to 108 children. Also nearby, the first SOS Youth Homes were set up in the mid-1970s, to help teenagers from the Village in their first steps to independence.

Sferai, Saida

A second SOS Children's Village opened in Sferai, about 16 km east of the harbour city of Saida. As a result of the ongoing political conflict in the area and the closure of the main access roads, the SOS families and their neighbours lived for many years in virtual isolation.


The first SOS Social Centre in the country, “SOS-Entraide” was opened in Mkallès near Beirut in 1986, helping disadvantaged women and families from the neighbourhood by providing work as well as social and economic support. Its main focus is to prevent the abandonment of children by strengthening at-risk families, particularly those headed by single mothers.

Kfarhay, Tripoli

In 1995, operations moved north, with the opening of a third Village, SOS Children’s Village Kfarhay, near Tripoli. The attached SOS Nursery cares for both SOS children and those from the local neighbourhood and plays a major role in ensuring that the village is well-integrated in the community.


Finally, in 2006 a fourth SOS Children’s Village was opened in Ksarnaba, in central Lebanon, comprising eight family homes. The local SOS Nursery and SOS Social Centre ensure that the local community receives the support it needs to give children the best start in life. The vocational training programme is a key project to improve the economically underdeveloped area, where 56% of girls are illiterate.

Emergency Relief Programme

We have been helping refugees in Lebanon since March 2014. We operate an emergency interim care centre in Khonshara which has looked after more than 200 vulnerable children, providing them with a safe place to sleep, food and schooling. Our child-psychologists and medical team also support children from the centre and the surrounding area.

In Beirut we assist hundreds of vulnerable refugee families. In addition to distributing basic goods such as food and hygiene kits, we provide psychological support and day-care for young children. We also train women so that they can earn some money to look after their families.

Local Contact

Association Libanaise des Villages d’Enfants SOS

B.P. 55242, Sin El Fil



Tel: +961/1/499 787

Fax: +961/1/499 808


Explore SOS

SOSUK welcomes call to end ‘heartbreak’ of refugee family reunion rules

Aid agency SOS Children’s Villages UK welcomed comments by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott on the need to change immigration rules that keep families apart.

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