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EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis

There is no difference, we are all the same but from different countries.

Nidaa, Lebanese, and Mariam, Syrian, are neighbours and friends. “We are like sisters,” says Nidaa. Mariam left Syria ten years ago.

Nidaa’s brother-in-law told her and her family about the rain collection system ACTED is implementing in the region where they live. “We heard about the project from my brother-in-law. We always had water shortages and we had to buy water a lot, so we applied for the project and it worked out,” says Nidaa. Five families, including Nidaa’s, benefit from this new system which has been running since winter.

“Rain water is collected,” explains Amar, ACTED’s focal point. “As a first step, the roof is cleaned, then the water falls on the roof and goes through drains to the tanks downstairs. The water is filtered and there is a water pump that gets the water to the tank, up on the roofs and people can benefit from this water.”

Mariam, does not have access to the system. “The water expenses are very high,” she explains. “We buy water once a week because we use it a lot.” She lives in a garage with her husband and their five children. “My husband doesn’t work so it’s really difficult,” she explains. Mariam’s family receives food assistance, but one of her daughters is in need of medical assistance, possibly abroad.

Nidaa explains how one of the things she learned from Mariam is patience. “You see people suffering, having to leave their countries so it puts things into perspective. You appreciate what a good life you have here and God help them, it’s not easy at all for them,” she says, referring to Syrian refugees. “We have many friends here in the region because we’ve been here for a long time,” says Mariam, “I know a lot of people and I am familiar with this region now. As a community, it’s much better.”

With support from the EU through the Trust Fund, ACTED is improving the living conditions of Syrian and local communities in Lebanon, through greater access to water, sanitation and disease-free environments.