After five years of conflict, many young Syrians have fled their country to find refuge in neighbouring countries and beyond. More than one million Syrians have registered as refugees in Lebanon since 2011. Young refugees are facing many obstacles on their way out of economic, social and political exclusion. Within the significant expansion of the humanitarian field in response to the refugee crisis, young Syrians have funded their own NGOs. Based on qualitative fieldwork with members of such organizations, this paper explores how young Syrian refugees in Lebanon partially cope with barriers to integration through humanitarian work. It examines how war and exile have led to variations in activism among the young Syrians and how the hardship they are facing presents them with bleak prospects.