In December 2020, UNHCR stated that 9 out of 10 Syrian refugee families in Lebanon are living in extreme poverty. In July 2021, the United Nations reported that more than half of all of Lebanon are living under the poverty line. We won't stand by and do nothing!
We are a team of Syrian refugees, who are dedicated to helping not only Syrian families but also Lebanese who cannot afford clothes, shoes, diapers and other essentials. We believe that being able to clothe your child and use menstrual pads are basic human rights, so we run a shop where people can choose and take home these items for free.
We provide items such as summer and winter clothes (all ages and sizes), shoes, boots, baby clothes and items, blankets, sheets, towels, rugs, menstrual pads, diapers, incontinence pads, new underwear including bras, new and used socks, hats, hijabs and even toys. Over time we wish to create a theory of change to fight against the root causes of poverty and homelessness, but right now the situation is such that we need to focus on relieving poverty and assisting families in need.
What makes us innovative is the way we give people aid. We let them choose, because they know more than anyone what they need. We treat people with freedom and respect: in our shop they are customers, not beneficiaries. Our customers enjoy coming to the shop and choosing items to take home. Many mothers have not been shopping for clothes for their children in years, and they cry from happiness when they come to The Free Shop.
We work just like a real shop, where families come (albeit after being registered door-to-door in impoverished areas) and receive plastic tokens. They then use these plastic tokens to "buy" donations, which we either buy in Lebanon or send to Lebanon in containers from the UK and Europe. We love the atmosphere in our store and have had great feedback from our customers about the experience of receiving aid at The Free Shop.
Funded by Homelessness (October 2021)