Heartland Alliance International (HAI) has been serving marginalized populations in Lebanon for five years with the central belief that survivors of trauma require integrated, comprehensive support for successful recovery, which includes holistic mental health care and access to legal services. In Lebanon, HAI provides prevents and responds to violence through a Safe Space model; researches gaps and needs of the most excluded, vulnerable individuals; and leverages a practical, comprehensive approach to building the capacity of local institutions and service providers.


Since the 2011 start of the Syrian civil war, more than 1.5 million Syrians refugees have fled to Lebanon. Seven years into the conflict, one in five people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee.

  • Women and children represent 79% of registered refugees in Lebanon.
  • 53% of refugees are children, many of whom are out of school and working to support their families.

Lebanon is ranked 135 out of 142 countries in gender equality by the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap Index, in part due to a religion-based court system that contributes to gender inequality.


  • Combatting gender-based violence and expanding access to services: HAI has worked closely with local partner organizations in Tripoli and Akkar to create Safe Spaces that serve Syrian refugees and Lebanese women and girls who are at risk of or have survived violence. These walk-in community centers provide mental health and legal services, vocational training, and child care services.
  • Trauma-informed education for emergency-affected, out-of-school Syrian refugee youth: HAI and local partners in northern Lebanon are training teachers to provide trauma-informed basic numeracy and literacy classes as part of a United Nations-approved structured educational program. HAI focuses on fostering youth-centered, gender-sensitive, and emotionally supportive classroom environments for children traumatized by war and displacement to enhance knowledge retention and prevent a “lost generation” of Syrian children.


HAI has:

  • Provided education, protection, and social services to more than 3,000 survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV)
  • Developed and disseminated a community workers’ guide to understanding SGBV and child protection
  • Partnered with and mentored more than 10 nascent local non-governmental organizations to become high quality service providers for women and girls at risk of SGBV
  • Conducted groundbreaking research on the vulnerabilities, needs, and experiences of LGBT refugees in Lebanon

“I love coming to the classes of art, it makes me feel strong. When I grow up, I want to be a teacher and help all the children I can by giving them education.”

-Layla, Syrian teenager