In her first trip with UNICEF, Grammy-winning recording artist Dua Lipa traveled to Lebanon this week, to meet children and young people, including many uprooted by the eight-year conflict in Syria.
During her time in the country, Lipa spoke to children and juveniles about the obstacles they face in their daily lives, such as obtaining education as well as finding jobs and opportunities.
Additionally, Lipa made visits to projects implemented in Terbol informal settlement in the Bekaa valley by Lebanese Organisation for Studies and Training (LOST), 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.
Recalling the resilience of some children she had met, Lipa stated that the most powerful thing she 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."
Moreover, Lipa visited Burj el Barajneh Palestinian camp, where she spent time with Palestinian and Syrian children receiving psycho-social support and taking early childhood development courses.
UNICEF's representative in Lebanon Tanya Chapuisat commended Lipa's efforts, expressing happiness that "global champions" like the award winning performer took an interest in advocating for vulnerable children.
“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", Tanya said.
Lebanon is host to more than one 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.
Regarding the visit to war-torn areas of Lebanon, Lipa stated that the experience was a personal one.
"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.
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.
Lipa expressed gratitude that she had the chance to be born in the UK and live her dream, despite being from an immigrant family.
"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.”