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Meet Zaynab, Hygiene Promotion Officer in Lebanon

Published on Tuesday 21 April 2020

MEETING For the past two years Zaynab Juma has been a hygiene promotion officer for SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL. It comes naturally to this 30-year-old Lebanese woman to help Syrian refugees.

 

I WANTED TO SUPPORT SYRIAN REFUGEES

“I was born and live in the Baalbeck region, in the north of Lebanon. I’m married and have a two-year-old child. I got a degree in biochemistry and started working for the Ministry of Public Health on vaccination campaigns. I then worked as a laboratory assistant before moving into teaching. I taught in the afternoons in sessions reserved for Syrian refugee children. Then, in 2018, I started working for SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL as a hygiene promotion officer. I applied because I wanted to continue supporting Syrian refugees affected by the crisis. Their presence is not always welcomed by the Lebanese, but my family and friends supported me a lot. We are all human beings, we feel the refugees’ pains.”

I was shocked by the poverty suffered by the refugees

 

I REALISED HOW LUCKY I WAS

“When I first entered a makeshift camp a year and a half ago, I was shocked by the poor conditions in which the refugees were being forced to live. I realised how lucky I was to have a job and decent living conditions. I took a deep breath and walked around the tents to meet the people living in them. I have a lot of empathy with them and it’s my responsibility to support them by doing my job. Along with eight other field workers, we go to camps around the city of Zahlé daily to carry out hygiene promotion activities, initiate clean-up campaigns, diagnose people’s needs and form management committees.”

  • 5.5 million inhabitants
  • 28,6% poverty rate
  • 72nd out of 188 on the Human Development Index
  • 75,000 people helped

I DON’T BRING MATERIAL OBJECTS, BUT MY EMOTION

“I’m constantly looking for new ideas to grab the children’s attention. I use paint or glitter to make them understand in a fun way how bacteria spread and the how important it is for them to wash their hands regularly. What I like most is seeing the impact of our work on the lives of the people we help. I don’t bring material objects, but my emotion. I love to see them smile. We are connecting with the refugees. When they say ’thank you’ it’s sincere and rewarding.

 

KEY DATES IN ZAYNAB’S LIFE

1 March 1990: Born in Lebanon

2012: Awarded a degree in biochemistry

2015: Started teaching Syrian refugee children

2018: Became a hygiene promotion officer for SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL

SUPPORT OUR ACTIVITIES ON BEHALF OF REFUGEES

 

By donating € 50 (or € 12.50 after your tax rebate),

you are enabling drinking water to be distributed to 500 people for a day.

 

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