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Since 2007 Muslim Aid Lebanon began implementing the Rainbow Family Child Sponsorship Programme to deliver support to orphan, needy and disabled children in a country where poverty has become rife, mainly due to civil wars. Currently, the programme supports 300 children across Lebanon, where over half, are Palestinian refugees living in camps. Muslim Aid's Sultana Begum, from the Rainbow Family paid a visit to Lebanon recently to report on the programme's progress.

Q. Tell us your observations about the situation for children in Lebanon.

Most families cannot afford three meals a day and some children cannot afford to eat lunch at school. In many cases, living conditions are difficult with large families living in 1 or 2 rooms. This causes health problems. Healthcare in Lebanon is very expensive. There is no national health system in place and the government offers little to no support to families in terms of treatment. Twenty out of the 300 children currently sponsored are disabled and require regular treatment which is very costly. During my trip, I visited a number of children who suffer from disabilities. All the families of these children highlighted that healthcare was expensive and that they could simply not afford it with the sponsorship amount.

Having visited Lebanon for a week, and from my own experience, the country is currently going through inflation and most things are very expensive, especially food.

Q. What are Muslim Aid doing to change the situation?

Muslim Aid Lebanon will be working to create healthcare projects developed to reduce the cost of healthcare for sponsored children in Lebanon. We are looking to partner with a local clinic, Al Shifaa Medical Clinic. Muslim Aid has worked with Al Shifaa in implementing other healthcare projects in recent years and they have delivered good services. Such a partnership would be a breakthrough for the Rainbow Family in Lebanon as a vast majority of our young beneficiaries suffer from a range of healthcare problems, from cerebral palsy to cancer. With soaring healthcare prices, such a partnership would mean sponsored children can benefit greatly from discounted healthcare. We're going to need our donors to support us if we want to see this project through.

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