Pre-war Syria was considered one of the most educated countries in the Middle East, and standards of living were generally good. The civil war changed everything.

Over 2 million children are not in school – that’s one third of children in Syria. 1.3 million children who are in the classroom are at risk of dropping out. Over 40% of school buildings have been damaged or destroyed. 180,000 teachers are no longer in service. A huge 83% of people live below the poverty line.*

When *Abdul joined the School Club, he was aggressive and afraid. His whole life has been spent surviving war, trauma and domestic violence. Even though he’s only nine, his father often makes him work as an errand boy at a vegetable shop, to supplement the family income. Previously, he worked as a cleaner.

The School Club is a safe place for Abdul to learn and to receive therapeutic support. Our partners aren’t daunted by the huge load of trauma he carries, and their love and care is beginning to make an impact. They say: “During his time here, his behaviour has changed; he is less aggressive and disobedient… Underneath the fear and aggression is a very sensitive boy.”

How is Global Care helping children in Syria?

In partnership with the Hope Centre, a registered Syrian Christian NGO, we are helping children in Syria by improving their educational opportunities. We are working in a suburb of Damascus which was on the frontline of fighting for many years. Described as ‘banditland’, this area is now home to displaced families from across Northern Syria. Most live in dire poverty, having suffered huge trauma through the war.

Our School Clubs are helping children in Grades 1-3 (aged roughly 5-8 years) with basic literacy and numeracy. The clubs also create a safe space to play and access therapeutic support. Because of the large numbers of children in need, our partners are focusing on children who have lost parents during the war, or those who are so poor they would be unable to access education in any other way. Therapeutic interventions – like helping children learn to talk about emotions – are a crucial part of helping traumatised children become ready to learn.

The School Clubs have been helping children in Syria since early 2019, helping 90 children each year. The financial aspects of the work operate via our former partners in Lebanon, Out of the Wilderness.

How can you help?

Can you make a one-off gift or become a Change-Maker for children in Damascus? Regular monthly gifts from £18 enable our partners to work sustainably, and to plan new initiatives to support this vulnerable community, knowing they have stability.

*Statistics from UN – read more about the complex and severe needs in Syria from UNOCHA here

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