ANERA is one of the largest American non-profit organizations working solely in the Middle East. It was established forty years ago in order to ease the suffering of vulnerable communities inside Palestine. The growing dispersion of Palestinian refugees into neighboring countries entailed an expansion in ANERA’s work and led it to launch operations in Lebanon and Jordan. With time, its assistance grew beyond helping the Palestinians alone, reaching out to all the poor and needy in these countries. Although its involvement in Lebanon dates back for decades, ANERA did not set up its official permanent office in Beirut until in 2006.
ANERA responds to the economic, educational and health needs of vulnerable communities and provides humanitarian and emergency relief in times of crisis. ANERA strives to create sustainable solutions in these communities.
ANERA delivers vital medicines and equipment to the clinics and health centers affiliated with the Ministry of Social Affairs. It promotes healthy habits and responsible use of medicines through awareness campaigns launched inside camps and marginalized neighborhoods. Education on skin diseases and personal and public hygiene is also promoted in schools and camps; cleaning and personal care kits are distributed regularly.
Against the massive influx of Syrian refugees and the exacerbation of living conditions, ANERA’s donations have increased to meet the growing needs. In 2012, medical assistance worth USD 4.5 million was offered to the needy, an amount that has grown to roughly USD 13 million in 2014.
ANERA’s contribution to the education sector is clearly perceived through the vocational training it has provided for refugee youth to improve their chances of landing good jobs. Sports fields and playgrounds were built to motivate communities and bring them together. Knowing that poverty and conflict do impede access to education, ANERA has also provided youths with the opportunity to obtain non-formal education through classes on job skills, language and computer skills offered across Lebanon. ANERA has organized learning support and remedial education programs, which are critical to keeping underachieving students in schools and boosting their self-confidence. Sports were integrated within the programs for development and character-building. In the Nahr El-Bared camp in northern Lebanon, ANERA has renovated all affected facilities and worked with local partners to revive and deliver vocational training programs to the youths including training on carpentry, aluminum work, nursing, electronic and computer skills.
ANERA is helping poor families and communities navigate hard times and improve their livelihood. To this end, it seeks to create jobs that build and upgrade schools, health clinics and water wells. It also designs training programs and help entrepreneurs set up small local businesses (Vocational Training Center nearby Nahr El-Bared Camp). In partnership with Ayadi El-Khair Society, ANERA renovated in 2008 a culinary school and established a hotel management training center and an IT Center at the Kafaat, which is a center providing medical, educational and rehabilitation services for people with special needs.
ANERA focused on the DHIAFEE Program, which helped upgrade the quality of accommodations in rural areas in conformity with the finest international standards concerning food security and hygiene
The growing prevalence of poverty and vulnerability comes together with bigger challenges and responsibilities. These challenges are exacerbated by the negligence of the state and its failure to play its vital developmental part, all this amidst concerns on how to secure perpetual inflow of funds.