Sponsor a child in Syria
Poverty, high food prices and poor employment prospects have made Syria a hard place to grow up in for many decades. On top of this, ongoing violence since the Arab Spring of 2011 has led to millions of families being forced from their homes. SOS Children has worked with Syrian children since the 1970s, and is delivering essential and widespread emergency relief to help them cope during this difficult time.
You can help Syrian children by sponsoring a child with SOS Children:Sponsor a child in Syria
A population displaced by war
Once the intellectual and political centre of the Muslim world, Syria has always been a meeting place of east and west. In recent times, however, life has been hard for Syrians. Rising food prices, high unemployment and overstretched resources have meant poor living standards, and Syria has for a long time been a destination for refugees from neighbouring countries. Life has become harder still since civil unrest turned into war in 2011. So far, the conflict has forced over a million people from their homes and many have fled into neighbouring countries - estimates suggest 5,000 people leave every day. Four million people are in need of humanitarian aid, and the number continues to grow.
Children driven from home by war
Over half of those in need of help are children. Of the 5,700 people we help in Syria, the overwhelming majority are mothers and their infant children, forced from their homes by the violence. Many are living in temporary shelters with hundreds of other families, separated from their homes and possessions and often lacking even the most basic essentials. Without the stability of a home, parents cannot take proper care of their children. Education, health and nutrition, sanitation and even safe drinking water are all in short supply. Before the war, things were improving slowly for Syrian children, but change was highly dependent on the state of the economy. Slow growth has been halted and reversed by the conflict and once again the outlook is precarious for young people.
Our Work in Syria
Coping with war
Along with other charities, SOS Children is engaged in intensive emergency relief to help both children and adults who have been forced from their homes by the war. In August 2012, we redoubled our efforts to match the severity of the situation in Damascus, where we helped 4,000 displaced families, providing somewhere to sleep and supplying essentials such as clothes, medicine and bedding. Over the coming months, we hope to reach out to 15,000 of the most vulnerable people in Syria. We are also working hard to ensure children remain in education throughout the disruption, paying school fees and supplying educational equipment. To the many young mothers we are helping, we supply nappies, baby food and other essential equipment so that they can properly look after their infant children. Our three decades of experience in Syria enable us to make the best use of our relationships with UN agencies, local NGOs and others to help the worst-affected get through this difficult time.
Throughout the crisis, we have of course continued to help children in our Villages across Syria:
We began working in Syria in 1981 when the first SOS Children's Village was built in Qodsaya, 8 km from the capital Damascus. On the side of a hill on the road towards Lebanon, the Village cares for children in a number of family houses. Despite the arid and rocky conditions, trees, vines and shrubs have been planted to provide protection against the wind and sand, and flowers and even lawns have also been successfully established.
In 1992 plans were made for a second Village and a nursery in Khan El Assal, near Aleppo, Syria's second largest city in the North of the country. SOS Children's Village Aleppo opened in 1998 with 12 family houses. As is the case at all SOS Nurseries, children from both the local community and the Village receive schooling here. Primary and secondary schools for the older children are available in Khan El Assal.
For older children and young people finishing their education or vocational training, SOS Youth Homes have been provided for girls in Darya, a suburb of Damascus and for boys in Sahnaya, a small town 25 km south of the city. Here, young people who have grown up in the SOS Children's Villages can take their first guided steps towards an independent life.
In 1996, an SOS Social Centre was established in Darayya, a suburb of Damascus with a community outreach programme providing meals for single mothers and their children and vocational training for women and young people to help them find employment.