Peer-to-peer: Helping young Palestinian refugees support their communities

Lebanon’s overcrowded Palestinian refugee camps are a stressful and challenging environment to grow up in.

Poverty, marginalisation and the shadow of armed conflict can lead young people towards engaging in risky behaviours and affect their mental health. Restrictions on their right to work and limited opportunities for professional development, as recently highlighted in our Health in Exile report, exacerbate these challenges to young people’s wellbeing.

This is why Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) works with local NGO National Institution of Social Care and Vocational Training (NISCVT) – known locally as “Beit Atfal Assumoud” – to provide youth with opportunities to strengthen their life skills, make informed choices about their health and well-being, and to support others in their community to do the same.

This month, with MAP’s support, Beit Atfal Assumoud have been running a residential workshop for the young peer educators who volunteer in this project. This five-day intensive course allows the volunteers to learn how to conduct practical sessions using art, theatre, drawing and games to teach their peers about issues such as early marriage and self-esteem. Importantly, the workshop takes place outside of the harsh camp setting, fostering a relaxed environment where the volunteer peer educators can exchange experiences and support each other.

One of the exercises at the training, focused on self-esteem, asked these participants to prepare a mosaic drawing of something that represents them, their lives, or feelings. Afterwards, participants were asked to discuss their creations with the group.

Here are a few of the participants and their creations!

This programme has been successful in promoting health and care-seeking behaviors among youth in the camps, as well as improving young people’s psychological wellbeing and providing essential communication and conflict-resolution skills to help them have better relationships with their peers and in their community.

To support this work and our other programmes for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, please consider making a donation today.