Through this repatriation project, our partners have helped Syrian refugees relocate back to their home country through the rebuilding of their homes and by starting small businesses that will not only allow them to provide for their families, but also empower and sustain their communities.
In March of 2011, Syrian government crackdowns on public, anti-government demonstrations sparked country-wide violence and led to a massive wave of refugees fleeing for their lives. As the tension continually increased, ISIS wreaked havoc and destruction throughout the country leading to more than 500,000 lives lost and many more injured and/or displaced. Since that time, more than 5.6 million Syrians have been forced to flee their country and another 6.6 million have been internally displaced. The majority of refugees have fled to nearby Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, with Lebanon hosting the highest number of refugees per capita.
THE PROBLEM AND THE SOLUTION
Our partners in Lebanon responded to this crisis with a holistic vision of caring for these refugees spiritually, physically, emotionally, and educationally. Their focus was on helping refugees start the process of rebuilding their lives, families, and communities back in Syria. The work of repatriation is multi-faceted and must be done with the utmost care, but many of these families were eager to be reunified with relatives and begin the work of creating a flourishing community once again.
The repatriation project combined both a practical and sustainable way for refugees to begin this process and reestablish life in a new, albeit familiar place. The first phase of repatriation involved the families building a relationship and going through an assessment with our partners. After the time of assessment, the family began the process of selling their possessions and applying for any paperwork needed to return to their home. The timeline for this part of the process took anywhere from two weeks to six months, depending on the border situation at that time. Once the family obtained the necessary paperwork, they would travel across the border and begin the second phase of repatriation which included the rebuilding of the family home, developing a sustainable business plan, and taking the necessary steps to start the business. The second phase occurred relatively quickly with the home building process taking around two months, and the starting of a business happening in quick succession.
Families that have lived through the trauma of war and the separation from family, friends, language, and culture are desperate for a sense of familiarity. This repatriation project not only equipped families with what they needed to survive, but also strategically provided them with the opportunity to thrive through a business. As these families returned to their homes with the tools to succeed at their disposal, they contributed to the flourishing of the entire community through their businesses, homes, and by modeling a life of honor.
- 11 families returned home to Syria with newly-constructed homes and a plan to achieve financial sustainability.