Issam and His Elderly Parents Trying to survive the multiple crises in Lebanon
In a traditional Lebanese and modest house, Issam (Lebanese, 21 years old) lives with his parents; Assaad (70 years) and Sobhiya (65 years), as well as his sister Hoda (27 years) located in South of Lebanon.
Issam has epilepsy, which prevents him from working in hard situations or in the sun. "I work in anything to support my family, but not under pressure because of my brain disease”, Issam clarifies. Nonetheless, he is the breadwinner of the family, and his elderly parents need a monthly budget to pay for their medical exams and medication as they have numerous chronic illnesses (diabetes, heart disorders, hypertension, and back aches). On the other hand, since his sister is a nursing student, he is liable for her university transportation fees as well.
Issam says, "I find it difficult to obtain adequate employment given my health situation... at the same time, I want to meet the urgent needs of my family and I can't do it without a fixed job, so occasionally I work as a daily worker."
This family was experiencing such a difficult socioeconomic circumstance, particularly in light of the price inflation rates and several lockdowns that took place during the pandemic. Regarding their living conditions before being contacted by the Action Against Hunger team to complete the vulnerable assessment, Issam talks about that period by saying: “A team from Action Against Hunger visited me at home to assess my situation and provide me with the needed support”.
This project was implemented between August 2021 and August 2022 and is aiming at alleviating most urgent food needs and protecting nutritionally vulnerable groups thanks to the generous support of the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund (LHF).
Action Against Hunger visited Issam's home in February 2022. The purpose of the visit was to provide the family with the first assistance in the form of a food parcel that included the necessities for basic nutrition (sugar, bulgur, white beans, vermicelli, dates, sunflower oil, sardine, tahini, peas and carrots, chickpeas, lentils, rice, tomato paste, tuna, salt, pasta). At that time, the family enthusiastically welcomed the field team and expressed their gratitude for this support.
The support has not reached its end yet! Since the parcels were enough to last for months, Action Against Hunger paid a second visit to Issam’s family in May 2022 to distribute the second batch of the food parcels, hygiene kits, and elderly kits. At that time, our team was so glad to hear from the family about how they highly benefited from the support.
“Due to the high cost of several food items, as a family we had to change the type of food we used to eat; for instance, we could not afford to eat tuna for several months, but when we received that food box, we were happy to see some tuna inside. Thank you! At least we can now eat what we love.” according to Sobhiya. She adds: “the kit is rich and various so I could cook a variety of healthy food after receiving the food parcels… This distribution covers an important part of our needs, but we still need more support to have adequate living conditions”.
As for Issam, he described the project’s support as a life saver: “The kits were ideal and fair enough to cover our nutritional requirements, so we did not need to purchase further food and hygiene kits for long. In this way I was able to save some money to purchase the medications for my elderly parents.” Issam states.