Lebanon, the beautiful Mediterranean country nestled between Syria and Israel, and one of the oldest and most vital cradles of Christianity, is facing an unbearable economic crisis.

More than 80 percent of the population now lives in poverty and the unemployment rate has gone up from 11 to 30 percent in the past four years. Basic public services, such as electricity, and social support programs, including education and health care, have declined significantly, affecting the lives of the most vulnerable and forcing educated and qualified professionals — many of them Christian — to leave the country in search of a better life.

Throughout its history, Lebanon’s many Christian communities have been a refuge for the vulnerable, the marginalized and the poor. Unfortunately, during these trying times, the churches are also in dire need as demand for their social service initiatives grows. 

CNEWA-Pontifical Mission has long supported the church in Lebanon and will continue to respond to the huge needs of the people, working together with its broad coalition of partners in the field, and funding critical programs that serve the most vulnerable residents from all cultural and religious backgrounds.

Accompanying the Church

CNEWA-Pontifical Mission supports the religious formation of nearly 120 seminarians studying in Lebanon’s seven seminaries, as well as caring for programs that help build the leadership for tomorrow’s Christian communities, especially among the laity. 

Sunday sermon for Iraqi Assyrian refugees in Mar Elias church in Beirut, Lebanon. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)

Responding to Human Needs

In collaboration with the local church and church-related partners, CNEWA-Pontifical Mission responds to human needs through different program services, such as child care and tuition assistance; academic and technical support for schools, their teachers and staff; health care programs, including developing and expanding medical programs that respond to the needs of the most vulnerable; and care for the marginalized, in particular educational, psychosocial and mental health programs that respond to the needs of refugees, the poor and people with mental and physical special needs.

Franciscan Hospital of the Sisters of the Cross in Deir el Kamar, Lebanon. (photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)

Emergency Relief

CNEWA-Pontifical Mission is fighting hunger, helping to sustain the lives and ease the suffering of approximately 10,000 families through the distribution of food packages and non-food items, such as diapers for children and other necessary items for the elderly, the bedridden and people with special needs. Due to the deteriorating economic situation in the country, we expect an increase in this emergency relief program as more people slide into poverty.

Rita Mallat, the director at RAM, with the food box she has brought to Randa Krayem, who is bound to a wheelchair and has been unable to find work since the economic crisis began in Lebanon. (photo: Raghida Skaff)

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