Mekse is a town in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley where refugees outnumber the local population. Thousands of people fleeing the conflicts in Syria have settled in this region, many in one of the 730 informal settlements that have sprung up. Mekse is making considerable efforts to welcome the refugees, particularly in giving the Syrian children an education, and a new school has been built next to our project site. Yet with this rapid urban growth, green space is becoming a scarce commodity.
A Rocha Lebanon is implementing the Mekse project in partnership with the Municipality of Mekse on a 3-hectare plot of land. In time the site will provide a safe open space for public recreation and environmental education, as well as a habitat for birds, reptiles and invertebrates. The project also provides employment and a livelihood for refugees from Syria, who are being employed to help carry out the work: planting, weeding, irrigating, cutting grass, providing security and clearing rubbish from the site.
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