Grammy-winning recording artist and UNICEF supporter Dua Lipa travelled to Lebanon this week to meet children and young people supported by UNICEF, including many uprooted by the eight-year conflict in Syria.
While in Lebanon, Lipa spoke to vulnerable children and young people about the obstacles they face in their daily lives, in obtaining an education, and in finding jobs and opportunities. As part of her visit, Lipa visited projects implemented in Terbol informal settlement in the Bekaa valley by Lebanese NGO LOST (Lebanese Organisation for Studies and Training), a UNICEF youth partner organization.
“You can read about the conditions or see the challenges on TV, but you don’t really feel the absolute dire circumstances for refugees from Syria until you see them for yourself,” said Lipa. “But the most powerful thing I saw was hope. In Terbol, I met a wonderful young girl called Yazee. She’s fifteen. She dreams of one day going back to Syria and starting a business applying makeup. And in spite of all of the excuses she could have to give up, she is every day studying and practicing and learning her craft so she can one day make her dream real.”
Lebanon is host to more than 1 million Syrian refugees, including around 500,000 children, many of whom have faced violence and exploitation, and continue to struggle to receive adequate health care or education.
She also visited Burj el Barajneh Palestinian camp, where she spent time with Palestinian and Syrian children receiving psychosocial support and taking early childhood development courses.
“We are happy to have the support of global champions like Dua Lipa advocating for vulnerable children,” said UNICEF’s representative in Lebanon, Tanya Chapuisat. “She met and empowered young people who, like her, have ideas and energy to create a better world and therefore we thank her for amplifying the stories and dreams of the youth UNICEF is supporting across Lebanon.”
This is Lipa’s first trip with UNICEF. The London-born, singer-songwriter is the daughter of Kosovar-Albanian parents who fled the conflict and political instability in the Balkans in 1992. Her family later returned to Kosovo with then 11-year old Lipa after security and opportunity returned to the troubled region a decade and a half later.
“This is personal for me. My parents fled a war-torn region and built a life for themselves in a new place. And each one of the refugee children I met has parents just like my own, who have tried to make the best decisions they could for their families,” said Lipa. “I feel lucky that I was given a chance, especially from an immigrant family, to have been born in the UK and been able to live my dream, because I had that opportunity and I feel like every other child should have that opportunity too. To be able to be in a place where they can thrive and be the best version of themselves.”