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Thanks to everyone who gave in the Big Give Christmas Challenge. Match funding is no longer available, however gifts to our Christmas Appeal are still very much appreciated. Please read on!

Syria was once one of the most educated countries in the Middle East and standards of living were generally good. Eight years of civil war have changed everything.

Violent conflict, widespread infrastructure damage, economic collapse and international sanctions have left 83% of the population living below the poverty line.

Whilst over five million Syrians fled as refugees, as many as 13 million Syrians who stayed are now in need of help. The need is overwhelming – which is when Global Care’s long-standing motto comes alive: “Can’t do everything, mustn’t do nothing”.

Music: “Adventure” from BenSound.com; “Hand Bells, A, Single.wav” by InspectorJ (www.jshaw.co.uk) of Freesound.org

This Christmas, Global Care hopes to raise £45,000 towards the cost of School Clubs for vulnerable children living in Al Mleha, a suburb of Damascus which was on the frontline of fighting for many years.

Al Mleha is now home to displaced families from across northern Syria. It’s a lawless place, with little sense of community, where violence is common. Many children are traumatised by their experiences, including the loss of parents and other relatives in the fighting, and are living with members of their extended families in poverty-stricken settings.

School is a place which should offer hope for the future – but the Syrian education system is overstretched, under-resourced and many children have yet to set foot in the classroom. As many as one in three children of school age in Syria are not in school, and more than one in four children who are in school are at risk of dropping out. 40% of school buildings are damaged or destroyed, and 180,000 teachers are no longer in service.

Our Syrian partners, House of Hope, are running School Clubs twice a day for 90 particularly needy young children, in school grades 1-3 (roughly aged 5-8) at government schools.

Like our Shack Schools in Lebanon, the clubs offer basic literacy and numeracy, and homework support. The clubs also offer a place of safety, where traumatised children can receive therapeutic support.

As need in the area is so high, all children selected to attend the club have lost at least one parent, or are living in circumstances of severe destitution, in keeping with Global Care’s policy of caring for the most vulnerable children.

The School Clubs launched in September 2019, following research into the community’s needs and a pilot project assessing their viability. Global Care has committed to funding the clubs at £17,600 per year for three years (at today’s prices).

Our 2019 Christmas Appeal aims to raise £45,000 towards this sum – with the help of match funding via the Big Give Christmas Challenge.

This will put the initiative on a secure financial footing for more than two years, allowing Global Care then to look at supporting other needs within this vulnerable community.

CEO John White said: “The Syrian crisis – both inside and outside Syria – is one of the biggest humanitarian crises the world has faced in the last decade. Global Care has been supporting Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon for the last six years, and we are excited to be able to extend our support to children living inside Syria for the first time. Many of these children have never known what it is to live in peace, and the challenges they face every day are enormous. It is our great privilege to be able to help them, in the hope they will not just survive but thrive, by offering them therapeutic support to increase their wellbeing – essential if any academic progress is to be made – and the chance to attain an education, which is every child’s best hope for a better future. Please give generously, we are so grateful for every donation making a difference to these children’s lives.”