Since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in conflict. The violence has now lasted five years, and between 300,000 and 425,000 people have lost their lives. An estimated 13.5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Approximately 11.4 million people are displaced; they have fled to other parts of the country or abroad.
Families are struggling to survive
SOS Children's Village Qodsaya is keeping children who have lost their parents safe (photo: A. Pamuk). .
Qodsaya is a suburb of Syria’s capital of Damascus, which had a population of roughly 1.8 million before the war started, and is located in the south of the country. Although Damascus has been one of the safer Syrian cities, there have been repeated reports of shootings, bombings, deaths and injuries.
The tense security situation has affected the lives of all Syrians since the conflict started. Families in some areas of the city find it increasingly hard to find food – prices have risen sharply - and clean drinking water.
The Syrian health care system has practically collapsed. More than half of Syria's hospitals have been destroyed or badly damaged: medical help and medicines are in very short supply. 25 per cent of schools have been destroyed, and two million children aren´t getting an education.
Vulnerable children need support and protection
Syrian children are, more than ever, in need of support. Due to the ongoing conflict, SOS Children's Villages is carefully monitoring the situation in order to provide vital humanitarian assistance and to ensure the safety of children and families in our care.
Due to the fighting, in 2012 we evacuated SOS Children's Village Aleppo. The families moved to SOS Children's Village Qodsaya.
At the end of September 2016, all children in our care at SOS Children’s Village Qodsaya were evacuated due to the increased fighting: mortar shells had hit the SOS Children’s Village. All the children and staff were unharmed and evacuated to a secure temporary village in a safe location. A few weeks later, when it was once again safe, they were able to move back into the SOS Children's Village.
What we do in Qodsaya
We support familes who are struggling to survive amid the fighting (photo: A. Pamuk)
Care in SOS families: Over 150 children and young people currently live in SOS Children's Village Qodsaya. Brothers and sisters grow up together in the care of an SOS mother. The SOS families, from both Aleppo and Damascus, have stayed together during the war and have moved to safer areas wherever necessary.
Support for young people: SOS Children’s Villages supports young people while they continue their studies, do further training or look for a job.
Child-friendly Spaces: Children can recover from their daily stresses in the child-friendly spaces. We do all we can to ensure that boys and girls, who are unable to go to school, have some structure to their day and can take part in creative and educational activities. In addition, we offer psychological help to traumatised children.
Support and emergency aid for vulnerable families: We have been supporting vulnerable families since 1996. As the fighting has increased, we have stepped up our efforts to ensure that families have access to shelter, food, clean drinking water, electricity and health care. We take steps to ensure that children continue their education.
Care and protection for children without parental care: The SOS Children's Villages Interim Care Centres in Damascus care for unaccompanied and separated refugee children and for those who have lost their parents due to the war. We work hard to find their families so that children can return to live with them. But, if this isn't possible, the children stay in our care.