Education, Agriculture and Soap …
In the south of Lebanon lies the Tyre farm in the area where many Palestinian refugees first arrived in 1948. The JCC farm is surrounded by agricultural land slowly changing into cement buildings. The farm was established in 2000 for teaching purposes. Since a water well and an irrigation system has been installed. Four plastic houses have been set up and are planted with vegetables around the year. An old structure was turned into a green house where a variety of vegetables and house plants are grown.
The Agricultural Programs
The farm offers an introductory course to agriculture open to both genders and all ages. Working in agriculture is legally allowed in Lebanon for Palestinian refugees and does not need a work-permit. This makes the farm and educational program so important as it offers as future and vocation for younger Palestinian refugees.
The course is a 4-month course that offers basic training in agriculture which includes theory and practical work in all areas of the farms. Many found employment in the surrounding fields and in agriculture related establishments. While some have rented small pieces of land to plant and generate an income.
Recently, we have acquired beehives for beekeeping. We are producing excellent honey! This year, an intensive beekeeping course was offered to all who wanted to improve their skills as beekeepers in the area. Organic fruits and vegetables grown on the farm are sent once a week to be sold in Beirut. The German Church has kindly allowed us to use their yard for this purpose.
The Educational Programs
The success of the Educational Program for the older Syrian Refugee students in Sidon, pushed the Syrian community in the southern camps to request a similar program for their children. Realizing this need, JCC decided to introduce a scholastic program to the farm. The program of Sidon was replicated in Tyre, with the students travel to Damascus for their official exams as well. Two scholastic programs were also introduced. One is for young students whether Syrian or local Palestinian refugees. They are offered literacy, arithmetic, languages and computer classes. The other is a literacy course for adults. To provide livelihood incomes, three skill- training courses were carried out--beekeeping, soap making and flower decorating.