In one of the smallest camps in Lebanon …
To the north of Beirut on a hilly slope lies the Dbayeh camp, the only Christian camp in the Middle East. It is a small camp with around 500 families and 90 Syrian refugee families recently arrived. One long street leads into the camp with a church standing in the center. The houses are very small and crowded together along four narrow streets. The JCC runs its programs in a two floor premise--upper floor houses the library and community center while the lower floor is used for the special studies program. An adjoining premise to the lower floor was recently bought to expand the special academic classes offered to the Syrian refugee children. JCC has been active in Dbayeh since 1997 where it runs a variety of educational, cultural, and sport activities for the children and youth of the camp. The JCC library and community center create a focal point for all the activities which include many programs for women as well.
Library and Community Center
In 2008, a library equipped with books, educational games, and computers was established in the midst of the camp. People can experience our library which allows them to come, browse through books, research for subjects of interest, and sit around and read. A membership system was introduced which allowed them to borrow books and return them. To attract the children, a story hour was introduced where they gather in groups, three to four times a week to listen to stories, and are encouraged to read themselves. Other programs of art, music, dance, drama, lectures, and workshops were gradually introduced and have attracted more people to participate. The library is now the center and hub of all activities in the camp.
Initiated in 2007, the tutoring program better known as the "Study Station" awaits the children every afternoon. Children with learning difficulties such as speech defects, hyperactivity, concentration difficulties, slow learning, and other psychological problems gather to prepare their school homework. The program has benefitted a big number of students who otherwise may have dropped out of school. Most parents are unable to help their children with their homework neither can they afford to pay for tutoring. Thus this tutoring program makes a big difference to the children's lives and that of many families. Five tutors, a speech therapist, a psychologist, and a social worker provide help and guidance to these students.