The events that began in Syria in 2011 as a revolution against the dictatorial regime of Bashar al-Assad have turned into a brutal civil war.
250,000 people have lost their lives and more than one million have been injured. 12 million people have been displaced and of those who remain in Syria, over 12.2 million are in need of urgent humanitarian aid.
The tense security situation has affected the lives of all Syrians and everyday life is extremely difficult. The Syrian health care system has practically collapsed - more than half of Syria's hospitals have been destroyed or badly damaged: as a result, medical help and medicines are in very short supply. 25% of schools have been destroyed and two million children are not receiving an education.
SOS Emergency Relief Programme reaches 100,000 people
Since the conflict began, SOS Children’s Villages has been able to help over 100,000 people. We have provided shelter for unaccompanied children, as well as new mothers and their babies in our Interim Care Centres (ICCs). We have provided warm clothes, bedding, blankets and 60,000 meals to families who have been forced to live poor accommodation without basic food or water. We have created Child-Friendly Spaces where children have the chance to play and receive counselling; and also helped over 16,000 children return to school by providing uniforms, equipment and help with tuition fees.
Aleppo: Stepping up relief operations despite security risks
SOS Children’s Villages is one of only a few NGOs still providing care for children and humanitarian assistance for families in the embattled city of Aleppo.
Despite the evacuation of children at the SOS Children's Village Aleppo to our Village in Qodsaya, on the outskirts of Damascus in September 2012, we still have a team on the ground providing support to some of Aleppo’s most vulnerable residents. Many parts of Aleppo are besieged and basic services such as water and electricity are heavily affected. Food deliveries are difficult and fuel is also rationed.
Alia Al-Dalli, SOS Children’s Villages International Director of the Middle East region “We are extremely concerned for the safety of children who are caught up in the escalating violence in Aleppo. Children and families are trapped on the front line of the war and are in desperate need of supplies, shelter and food. Our staff are doing all that they can to help as many as possible. The magnitude of the humanitarian crisis is immense and the conditions are exceptionally dangerous.”
A new phase of our relief in Aleppo has begun and is:
- Providing 700 families with 50,000 litres of water daily
- Providing daily meals to 2,500 internally displaced families and children in partnership with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) provide
- Establishing a Child-Friendly Space in a safe area near Aleppo
- Distributing hygiene products, food and baby milk, nappies and clothing
- Setting up a small mobile medical clinic to provide basic care to the children and families – so far we have funded 14 life-saving surgical operations
- Opening three temporary schools – two in Aleppo and a third outside the city. These will provide primary education to 1800 children aged 4-12 years-old. Mothers and young people will also be provided with Vocational Training in the school buildings in the evening. The first school will open the first week of September.
Working conditions for SOS staff are both physically and emotionally very difficult. As one SOS field worker describes: “Watching your beloved city being destroyed, seeing the helplessness and the need of the people, it is heart-breaking and exhausting. But it makes us work harder to find solutions that can contribute to making lives a little bit better.”
Damascus has been a relatively safe city until recently. The escalating violence forced us to evacuate the SOS Children's Village in Damascus on 27th September. It is our top priority to ensure the children in our care are safe. To read a statement from an SOS mother and the Chief Operating Officer of SOS Children’s Villages International, please click here.
The two SOS Interim Care Centre’s in Damascus (Sabboura and Qura al-Assad) continue to care for hundreds of unaccompanied children. They have so far managed to reunite 150 children with their families.
Supporting Syrian refugees across Europe
In neighbouring countries of first refuge, like Lebanon, and during Syrian refugees’ journeys through countries including Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia, SOS emergency teams are providing care for unaccompanied and separated children and helping reunite some with their families. We have set up Child Friendly Spaces so children and parents can rest and recover, and providing IT support so that families can find each other. We are also delivering humanitarian aid such as food, clothing, blankets and hygiene kits, first aid and counselling to help families on the move.
Our work in Syria plans to continue to help to support those in need as a result of the war. You can help us achieve this by donating to our Emergency Relief Fund or directly to Syria.
- £6 = a day’s provision for a child at an SOS Child-Friendly Space
- £21 = a hygiene kit to one family, which includes items such as soap, shampoo, towels, tooth brushes and tooth paste, laundry powder, bucket and water container
- £34 = a baby kit to one family, which includes nappies, a cotton blanket, baby clothes, and cream and ointment
- £41 = a food kit to one family, which includes items such as milk powder, tea, oil olive, pasta, cheese and beans
Please bring hope to a vulnerable child in Syria. Donate to our emergency relief fund today.