As Lebanon’s triple crisis continues to worsen, youth are struggling to find hope, support and opportunities amid mounting despair.
The combined impact of an economic meltdown, the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Beirut Port explosions are forcing youth from all backgrounds to take on responsibilities beyond their ages, with detrimental impacts on their mental health and on access to opportunities. More and more young people are dropping out of education or any type of learning to engage in ill-paid, irregular and informal work to generate whatever income they can to help their families cope with the mounting challenges. UNICEF’s new assessment shows that 3 in 10 young people in Lebanon have stopped their education, while 4 in 10 reduced spending on education to buy essential items like basic food and medicine.
Dropping out of education and learning can severely affect young people’s life-long education and longer-term employment prospects. Unless current trends are reversed and appropriate action is taken, this will have serious implications for future growth and social cohesion in the country.
The unprecedented crisis has left the majority of Lebanese economically vulnerable and more than 90% of Syrians living in poverty. This is also taking a heavy emotional toll on young people, who often feel their prospects for a better life are looking dimmer by the day.