Woman with a small child.

Photo Credit: Save the Children 

This help "made all the difference"

“My children haven’t gone to bed hungry this past month. I can’t explain how much that means to me.”

That’s what Sahar, a mother of six in Lebanon, says about the financial assistance she received through the Humanitarian Coalition.

Before COVID-19, she used to clean houses to earn some extra income to support the family. But that work dried up when the pandemic hit.

“People are hesitant to hire me because they are afraid of contracting the virus, while others can no longer afford to pay me,” she says.

Her husband earns some money selling scrap metal and plastic that he collects from the neighbourhood. But that doesn’t provide a lot of income.

“As the economic situation in the country worsened, it has become even more difficult to survive,” she says, adding they can’t afford bread or healthy meals for the children. 

“It has been almost two years since my children ate meat or chicken, and they have often gone to bed hungry,” she says. “As a mother, I felt like I failed them.”

Adding to her sense of failure was her inability to send her children to school—she couldn’t afford school fees or transportation.

“I’m illiterate, and the thought that my children, especially my daughters, could end up like me was unfathomable,” she says.

Sahar's struggles were only made worse by the fallout of the explosion in the port of Beirut.

So when Save the Children, a member of the Humanitarian Coalition, identified Sahar as someone to receive support from its Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance program, “it made all the difference,” she says.

Through the assistance, made possible by donations from Canadians and a matching fund from the Canadian government, Sahar received a cash card to buy food, medication and other essential items and pay off their debts.

She is particularly grateful for the help provided for her 12-year-old son, Walid, who has a disability.

“This has made a big difference as he received training, and emotional support that is helping him a lot,” she said. “He has grown so much . . . I can see a difference in how he is thinking and dealing with difficult situations. That warms my heart.”

Getting a helping hand “is such a relief,” she says, adding it was “hard to ask for help.”

But now she is glad since her “biggest wish in life is to know my children are healthy and safe, but, more so, for them to finish their education.”