| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

Lebanese families sending their children to work to survive crisis

A growing number of families in Lebanon are having to resort to sending their children – some as young as six years old – to work in a desperate effort to survive the socio-economic crisis engulfing the country, UNICEF has warned.

The results of a survey paint a dramatic picture of the situation as the crisis continues to escalate for a fourth consecutive year, with devastating consequences for children.

“The compounding crises facing the children of Lebanon are creating an unbearable situation – breaking their spirit, damaging their mental health and threatening to wipe out their hope for a better future,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Lebanon Edouard Beigbeder.

The report, based on UNICEF’s latest rapid assessment of children’s lives, shows that almost 9 in 10 households do not have enough money to buy essentials, forcing them to resort to extreme measures to cope with the crisis.

The report shows that 15 percent of households stopped their children’s education, up from 10 percent a year ago, and 52 percent reduced spending on education, compared to 38 percent a year ago.

Three-quarters of households have reduced spending on health treatment, as compared to 6 in 10 last year.

Also, two in five households have been forced to sell family possessions, up from one in five last year.

The report added that more than one in 10 families have been forced to send children out to work as a way of coping, with this figure rising to more than one in four families amongst Syrian children.

UNICEF urged the Lebanese government to swiftly implement the recently produced National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS), which includes plans to provide social grants for those who need them most, including vulnerable families raising children.

It also called on the government to invest in education through reforms and national policies to ensure that all children have access to inclusive and quality education.

“Increasing investment in essential services for children – critically education, health and social protection will help mitigate the impact of the crisis, ensure the well-being and survival of future generations and contribute to economic recovery,” said Beigbeder.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat