disaster health kits | June 20, 2019

World Refugee Day 2019: MAP Aids Refugee Girls in Lebanon


Today is World Refugee Day, a day dedicated to recognizing refugees who are living in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters. MAP partners with relief agencies around the world to help provide critical medicines and health supplies to support these vulnerable populations. Often MAP Disaster Health Kits (DHK) are provided to offer a simple, yet dramatic product for people living in the most desperate of conditions. 

Described as a perfect 'measure of dignity' by people who have lost everything in natural disasters, MAP's signature DHKs contain antiseptic wipes, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other essential items. 


MAP's partner ANERA, the American Near East Refugee Aid organization, has found another creative use for the disaster health kit. ANERA shared the following story about how women and girls living in refugee camps are being trained in disease prevention and hygiene awareness

In the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon lies Burj El Barajneh; the most overpopulated Palestinian refugee camp in the city and home to more than 17,000 registered refugees; all living within a mere 1 square kilometer area.

Overcrowding, poor economic conditions, social and political marginalization has made the community in this camp vulnerable to poor sanitation practices and conditions. Within the camp, as in other camps across Lebanon, the consequences of these conditions fall primarily on women and girls, making them one of the most vulnerable demographic groups in the camp.

For girls, it’s not only their health that is at risk due to the dire sanitation conditions - whether it is disease or future reproductive-related issues - but also their family. When family members get sick in the camp, young girls are often expected to take care of them.

As this cultural dynamic prevails in many camp households, it is easy to see the repercussions that this has on the health of the camp as a whole. Without proper training in health sanitation and hygiene, young women and girls in the camp are often unable to help sick family members, and many times, even themselves.

AneraGirlsImage2Recognizing that women and girls were the key actors in improving health within the camp, ANERA partnered with UNICEF and MAP International to do outreach in Burj El Barajneh as part of the Community Based Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Project. This project aims to equip these young women with the tools and information they need to become empowered agents of change. With these tools, they can serve their community through promoting hygienic living and good sanitation practices.

At five all-girls schools in the camp, local ANERA trained volunteers delivered hygiene awareness sessions to young women and girls. Along with the awareness sessions, MAP International donated its kits that were distributed to the girls for their own benefit and as an incentive to encourage them attend more health awareness sessions. 

Nour, a local ANERA trained volunteer, reflected on her first session teaching young women and girls at the Fraternity Association for Social Cultural Work:

“I feel like the girls really benefited from the information we gave them...They certainly asked a lot of questions. Especially about the MAP kits when they opened them. The kits helped initiate discussion in class and the girls were excited to have tools to promote cleanliness and prevent sickness and disease.”

Your support of MAP International helps provide Disaster Health Kits to refugees and others in need around the world.  Thank you for aiding these young women and so many others worldwide.

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