More than four in 10 young Lebanese over just a 12-month period, reduced spending on education to buy basic food, medicine and other essential items, and nearly a third, have been forced to stop studying altogether, a UN report said Friday.
The report by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) showed how the crisis is forcing young people to drop out of school and engage in ill-paid, irregular work just to survive and help feed their families.
It says that 31 percent of young people are not in education, employment, or training. In fact, enrolment in educational institutions dropped from 60 percent in 2020-2021, to just 43 percent for the current academic year.
Working youth have an average monthly income of about 1,600,000 Lebanese pounds (LBP), equivalent to about $64 at the black-market rate.
Speaking to UNICEF, Haneen, 17, said the money she and her family receive every month, is not enough for the expenses.
“Inflation is so high, and incomes haven’t matched this. Every month we have to choose a priority – rent, medicines, food. But we can never have them all”, she said.
Lebanon’s crisis has led to an increase in other negative coping mechanisms besides reducing education costs.
About 13 percent of families sent children under 18, out to work. Almost one in two young people reduced expenses on health, and only six out of 10 received primary health care when they needed it.
Because of all this pressure, Hind, 22, told UNICEF that her outlook for the future is bleak.
“For the first time in my life, I want to leave my country, I want to leave Lebanon”, she said.