UNICEF and the Beirut Governorate in partnership with the Government of the Netherlands commit to empower and protect street and working children in Beirut

31 January 2024
During the visit to the buses in beirut
UNICEF2023/Hadi-El-Mawla/Lebanon

31 January 2024 – Lebanon’s unrelenting and overlapping crises are forcing a growing number of families to send their children to work in a desperate effort to survive the socio-economic crisis engulfing the country. Following the increase in the number of street and working children in Beirut, UNICEF, the Beirut municipality, public institutions and civil society organizations are collaborating through a local action plan to empower and protect street and working children through standardized and complementary programs.

Whilst the utmost goal is to support street and working children and eliminate the phenomena of the worst forms of child labour, initial investment has been set to create safe spaces for the children working on the streets to empower them with knowledge on how to protect themselves and where to go for help whilst also providing them with learning opportunities and psychosocial support that are tailored to their profile and needs. For effective and sustainable results, children’s caregivers are also provided with psychosocial support to address their own emotional distress whist supported with alternatives for positive parenting.

Governor of Beirut, Judge Marwan Abboud Said: “It is my duty and honor to be a part of this endeavor, spear-headed by UNICEF, in collaboration with the Municipality of Beirut, and public and civil organizations, to implement a plan aimed at taking care of street children and, in the background their families. This multi-faceted project, which we are supporting through the area-based taskforce, requires sustainability for its optimal fruition, which I hope we can all contribute to.”

To expand and complement the reach of the Safe Spaces, UNICEF, in partnership with the Government of the Netherlands and in consultation with the children has also set up two mobile units to ensure children working in different streets of Beirut are reached on a regular basis and supported with the same package of services which includes education, psycho-social support, sports and recreational activities. This innovative approach provides diversification in outreach strategies which are critical for reaching the most vulnerable children, including girls and children with disabilities.

Sylvia Deepen, Head of International Cooperation at the Netherlands Embassy in Lebanon said: ‘’Transforming lives and empowering dreams – Child protection is at the core of our priorities. Supporting vulnerable children, offering them hope and education requires the whole community to come together. The Netherlands is standing alongside these children through various initiatives to foster their potential and ignite change within their communities. With the support of our local and international partners we can make a real difference in the lives of these children.’’

“These buses represent an opportunity for street children to benefit from learning and psychosocial support services, learn ways to reduce their stress, have the opportunity to engage in positive ways and use their creative energy to express their feelings in a safe environment,” said Ettie Higgins, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Lebanon. “The mobile units will also link children with additional services such as medical screenings and vaccination and mobilize communities to ensure local ownership and acceptance in support of this intervention.”

Media contacts

Christophe Boulierac
Chief of Communications
United Nations Children’s Fund Lebanon
Blanche Baz
Communication Specialist
United Nations Children’s Fund Lebanon

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org/lebanon/.

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