A group of human rights activists working with Amnesty International in Lebanon became aware of the precarious and vulnerable situation that many refugees and migrants face in this country. The specific case of a Sudanese family touched them deeply and convinced them to take concrete actions. From its beginnings in 1998 until the year 2003, Insan organized summer school programs for children of refugees who had no access to education because of lack of legal papers. The summer school opened its doors for two months every summer and welcomed up to 150 children every year. This program continues until today. In addition, language courses and workshops about hygiene and health issues were organized for adults. Each year three sessions took place encompassing 15-20 adults each time.
In 2004, Insan started its first regular educational program, Insan School. Between the years 2004 and 2020 more than 2,200 children between the age of 4 and 17 received education at Insan School. From the start Insan was conscious of the fact that these children needed more than just education, which is why they and their families were supported and guided by social workers. From 2004 till 2020 Insan’s team of social workers assisted more than 20,000 individuals by assessing their needs and helping them to deal with the daily challenges they face. The often very unstable environment, in which children of refugees and migrants are growing up, can in certain cases constitute a great risk for them. In 2005 Insan created “Insan House” to be able to provide these children with a temporary shelter until they can return to their families. From 2005 until today Insan House served as a home for 320 children and 160 women. In 2006 Insan started to follow up on the students that once attended Insan School by helping them to integrate in a regular school or vocational training center.
Psychological support and legal advice and counselling; In 2008, Insan created its psychological department after having realized that there is an immense need for psychological support among the beneficiaries. Between 2008 and 2020 more than 4,800 individuals (children and adults) received psychological assistance in the form of individual counselling or group sessions. In addition to that, Insan started giving legal advice and counselling in 2008 as well, since the majority of beneficiaries have no legal status. By 2020, more than 1,800 individuals had received legal counselling, support and representation in regularizing their legal situation, registration of birth and marriages, labor conflicts, abuse and violations, domestic violence, etc. mainly through legal mediation and litigation. In addition to providing support for refugees detained for illegal entry or stay in Lebanon. In 2009, activities for street children were introduced to offer an alternative to the children who spend all their days on the streets of Beirut selling different items or just begging. Every year a group of 30 to 50 children benefit daily from basic education and recreational activities conducted at Insan. In 2009 a recreational program for children from the neighbourhood was introduced. “Ludoteque” (a games library) welcomed 350 children to come and play at Insan twice a week. Furthermore, in 2010 music, art and theatre classes were offered to the children at Insan School and from outside. “Insan School of Arts” for one school year provided 68 children with intensive and professional art classes in music, theatre and crafts.
Insan Association has always been engaged in raising awareness and advocating for the rights of its beneficiaries through organising conferences and awareness sessions on crucial human rights issues. In 2010 Insan started to expand these activities by creating an advocacy strategy and declaring advocacy as one of its three main pillars. In total around 30 conferences and awareness sessions were organised in the first two years. Additionally, an advocacy campaign sensitising the public for the situation of migrant domestic workers and their children through events, brochures and posters was implemented. Towards the end of 2012 Insan Association proudly looked back on a history of more than 10 years working with the most underprivileged people in Lebanon. Throughout the years the programs had been adapted and extended based on the needs of our beneficiaries. Through its close contact to the communities Insan has always been directly informed of the situation and problems of the people we care for. Today we can be confident in saying that we provide access to nearly all services that are demanded by our beneficiaries – if not through Insan’s own services, then through a network of partner organisations and institutions they can be referred to.
In 2017, Insan initiated the creation of a cross-regional network called the “Cross Regional Center for Refugees and Migrants” (CCRM) that brings together local and national organizations across the regions of Middle East, North Africa, the Gulf and the Mediterranean Basin. Until today, CCRM has more than 20 member organizations from 13 different countries. The aim of CCRM is to build capacities of its member organizations and other civil society actors around the topics of migration and refugees, in addition to creating a unified voice for the region during global or regional conferences around issues of migration and refugees and specifically around the Global Compact on Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees. CCRM has organized several regional consultations around the GCM and actively participated in all the stages of official consultations leading to the adoption of the GCM in December 2018. In addition, national and regional capacity building workshops were organized in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, etc. to name a few.