UNICEF’s winter programme provides warmth and support for Lebanon’s most vulnerable children
As a part of UNICEF’s response to the current economic and social crisis gripping the country, over 27,000 winter clothing kits provided for poor and vulnerable children across Lebanon in December
Winter is coming to Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley… with temperatures dropping to a low of minus 5 and snow starting to blanket the peaks, this is no time to be a vulnerable child out in the cold. As part of UNICEF Lebanon’s initiatives to support vulnerable Lebanese children this winter, more than 5,000 winter clothing kits were distributed to Lebanese children across the country’s Bekaa Valley this December.
3-year-old Mariam’s face lights up on discovering what’s inside her UNICEF winter clothing kit. One of 5,000 Lebanese children throughout the Bekaa, to benefit from UNICEF’s December initiative, she received a supply of heavy winter clothes – gloves, scarf, jacket, boots, and even pyjamas.
Mariam’s mother, Amani said “This year, more than in any year, we’re turning the heater off earlier in the night. We’re preparing for harder times ahead, and keeping our children warm is a priority. UNICEF’s provision for our children will help keep them a little safer, and a little healthier this winter!”
Providing support to Lebanon’s most vulnerable children in the hard to reach areas of the country’s Bekaa Valley and the north since 2014, UNICEF Lebanon this year distributed 5,000 winter clothing kits to vulnerable Lebanese children living in the area.
As a small part of UNICEF’s response to the current economic and social crisis gripping the country, over 27,000 winter clothing kits were distributed to poor and vulnerable Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian children across the country. Working with municipalities and through local partners and NGOs, UNICEF Lebanon is making good on its commitment to bring, for every child, warmth.
Ralph, aged 7, was one of 300 children in El-Qaa to receive a supply of gloves, scarf, jacket, winter boots and even pyjamas as part of the UNICEF initiative. “There are times when it’s just too cold to go outside, and even our homes are cold in winter! The UNICEF clothing kits aren’t going to shorten the winter… but they are going to make it easier to live through!” said young Ralph.
7-year-old Rita, told us: “our home is colder this winter than it has ever been. Even coming home from school isn’t a pleasure any more. So far this winter, my parents haven’t been able to buy me and my younger brother any new, warm clothes. This gift from UNICEF is my first hope of staying a bit warmer this winter! I can’t wait to get home and try everything on. We’ll have a cosy night tonight!”
All smiles… but the lack of necessary clothing can lead to sickness and gaps in education, as severe weather can increase the probability of a family making tough decisions that can negatively affect their children.
For Lebanese siblings Rebecca (12) and Charbel (14), their winter boxes came at just the right time! “The winters in the Bekaa are incredibly cold. Whatever the forecast says, it feels 10 degrees colder when the wind blows! Sometimes, it’s like no number of layers are going to keep us warm and this year has been the harshest start to a winter we remember!”
12-year-old Christian feels impervious to the cold, but his mother knows better – “He’s like every young boy, never feeling the cold, but he comes home with blue hands and gets sick more often than he should. Every parent here is struggling to pay their heating bills this winter, and UNICEF’s gesture of support in providing warm clothing for the Lebanese children of the Bekaa means they’re kept warm, and we have a little extra cash to keep our homes warmer for longer”.
The biggest smile of UNICEF’s day came from 3-year-old Mariam. For sure, too young to comprehend the bitterness of the winter that is just about to hit her and her compatriots, nonetheless she is captivated by the natural desire for warmth. As temperatures drop to zero and below in several areas of Lebanon, children in the region get sick, stop going to school and are at risk of becoming increasingly vulnerable.
UNICEF supports its partners to reach the most vulnerable children every winter. We want no child to be left out in the cold.