Lebanon’s crisis is increasingly forcing young people to drop out of learning and engage in ill-paid, irregular and informal work just to survive and help feed their families, UNICEF said in a report released today.
The report – Searching for Hope – says that more than 4 in 10 youth in Lebanon reduced spending on education to buy basic food, medicine and other essential items, and 3 in 10 stopped their education altogether.
Citing a UNICEF Youth-Focused Rapid Assessment , the report also indicates that:
Dropping out of education and learning can severely affect young people’s life-long learning and employment prospects. Unless action is taken to reverse current trends, this will worsen and have serious implications for future growth and social cohesion in Lebanon.
While more and more young people are forced to drop out of education, they often find themselves ill-equipped to compete for increasingly scarce jobs and frequently end up taking up low-paying work in the informal sector.
Lebanon’s crisis has also led to an increase in other negative coping mechanisms besides reducing education costs.
Haneen, 17, said: “The money we receive now is no longer enough. Inflation is so high, and incomes haven’t matched this. Every month we have to choose a priority – rent, medicines, food. But we can never have them all.”
Hind, 22, said: “My outlook for the future here is bleak. For the first time in my life, I want to leave my country, I want to leave Lebanon.”
“Young people in Lebanon urgently need support. Investments are needed to ensure financial concerns do not prevent them from getting the education and skills they need to eventually find decent work and contribute to the stability and prosperity of Lebanon,” Ettie Higgins, Representative a.i., UNICEF Lebanon.