Caritas Lebanon reopens the Oaktree shelter

29 Jun 2016   |   Blog   |   Refugees   |   Emergency Relief   |   Middle East

Tags:  humanitarian relief, middle east, Lebanon, development   |   No comments

Imagine being a woman isolated in a foreign country and at risk of violence.

Fortunately, women who find themselves in this situation in Lebanon are able to find refuge at Oaktree, a women’s shelter.

Oaktree reopened recently after refurbishment work to ensure it is a comfortable, safe and welcoming place for women and their children.

Most of the women are escaping gender-based violence either resulting from domestic violence, human trafficking, or the increased likelihood of violence due to being a refugee.

While the shelter is open to women of any nationality, the reality is that most of the women are refugees from Syria.

The typical stay is several weeks and sometimes months as it takes time for the women and the shelter team to find a sustainable solution after their stay at the shelter. While at Oaktree, women receive protection, medical, legal and psychosocial support, life-skills training, recreational activities and food, clothes and hygiene items.

One of the results of the refurbishment, apart from a new roof, some electrical work, and a fresh coat of paint, was the creation of a child-friendly space for children. The shelter also brought in new furniture and is installing a new kitchen.

Oaktree can cater for up to 30 women and their children at a time and is almost always running at capacity.

Women who are refugees leave the shelter if they are relocated by UNHCR, find alternative suitable housing or are able to move back home. After leaving Oaktree they are able to access services provided by Caritas Lebanon at day centres.

The refurbishment of Oaktree shelter was supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Humanitarian Partnership Agreement and Caritas Australia, as well as other international agencies.

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