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Life in a refugee camp

Members of outreach team in Syria

Ahmad, Fadi and Najwa- members of Bashmeh and Zeitoonah's team in Shatila camp

Five years ago, Fadi had just about heard of the Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon – a camp set up in 1949 to house Palestinian refugees. But he never imagined he would end up working there himself.

Fadi is an engineer from Aleppo in Syria, a city at the centre of a violent struggle between the Syrian government and various militant groups. The aerial bombardment, suicide bombings, gunfire and blockades have taken a heavy toll on the civilian population. Many have lost their lives. Many more have been forced to flee their homes.

20,000 Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese are packed into one square kilometre

Fadi came to Lebanon two months ago. His new workplace is a refugee camp in Beirut where 20,000 Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese are packed into one square kilometre. The numbers in Shatila camp have swelled dramatically since the Syrian conflict began.

Despite the difficult working conditions, Fadi takes great pleasure in helping other Syrians that are in need. He works with Basmeh and Zeitooneh, an Irish Aid funded Syrian organisation that provides shelter renovation, food packages, education, livelihood support and psychosocial counselling to refugees in the camp.

With his valuable engineering background, Fadi works on Basmeh and Zeitooneh’s shelter programme. As a member of the shelter outreach team, he receives shelter renovation requests, visits the proposed shelters, and supervises renovations. His skills, experience and generosity have improved the living conditions of countless refugees in Shatila camp.

Because of the restrictive residency rules for Syrians, Fadi must return to Syria every month to reactivate his residency. One day, he hopes he can return to his homeland for good. But for now, he is focused on doing all he can to help his fellow Syrian citizens at Shatila camp.

Basmeh and Zeitooneh (A Smile and an Olive) are funded by Irish Aid. Irish Aid support to Basmeh and Zeitooneh is implemented in partnership with Trócaire