From Scratch to Stitch: Syrian refugees receive vocational training in Lebanon

The crisis in Syria is entering its fourth year, and three million Syrian refugees are now displaced across the region. Nearly 1.2 million refugees have found refuge in Lebanon. One of them is Soha. After attending a sewing course supported by the Danish Refugee Council she is now better equipped to support her family.

From Lebanon

By Zaynab Shuman, Baalbek Office, DRC Lebanon

For many of the refugees displaced by the Syrian crisis, starting life from scratch was a bleak and daunting reality. Soha was one such person. She is in her mid-twenties and fled Syria with husband and children at the outbreak of the Syrian conflict. Despite having to flee her home and take refuge in neighboring Lebanon, she remains a determined person who still hopes for a better future.

“Life here is expensive, especially when you need to start everything from scratch”, Soha says. “It is my duty to help my husband who struggles every day to cover basic costs”.

She always wanted to become a seamstress, and one of her friends advised her to attend the sewing courses provided to Syrian and Lebanese refugees at the Community Center supported by Danish Refugee Council (DRC) located in Hermel in North Bekaa.

Skills Development Training courses, such as the sewing course attended by Soha, provides an opportunity for Syrian refugees to expand or adapt their skillsets, increase their confidence, and offer productive services to the communities in which they are now living.

Since January 2014, DRC has provided Skills Development Training to more than 800 Syrian and Lebanese individuals at the Hermel Community Center in North Bekaa, through funding made available by UNHCR.

After completing the Skills Development Training, Soha is now equipped with not only new sewing techniques, but with the confidence to start stitching clothes for her family, friends and neighbors. She now dreams of having her own sewing business, and being able to provide a better life for her children.