Help and Hope for Syrian Children and Refugees

Save the Children is helping thousands of children like Sana and her sisters to access education, to learn how to communicate about their experiences and — vitally — to learn how to be children again. Photo credit: Jonathan Hyams / Save the Children
Save the Children is helping thousands of children like Sana and her sisters to access education, to learn how to communicate about their experiences and — vitally — to learn how to be children again. Photo credit: Jonathan Hyams / Save the Children

Support Our Syria Children in Crisis Fund

Save the Children has already reached over 250,000 people across Syria, and our staff and partners are risking their lives to deliver lifesaving aid across the different areas in Syria – our humanitarian impartiality is often our only and our best defense.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the conflict in Syria has caused over 1.6 million Syrians to seek refuge in neighboring countries, including a rapid expansion in the number of refugees fleeing to Egypt. As the conflict continues and more Syrians flee, increasing pressure is being put on already strained camps and host communities. Refugees and the poor families in these communities face many critical needs, ranging from food and water shortages to children being unable to continue their education. Children are especially vulnerable, and of the estimated 6.8 million people affected by the crisis in Syria, almost half of them are children.

How We Are Helping Syrian Children

Child Protection: We know that children in Syria are suffering extreme difficulties. Our partners are setting up “Child Friendly Spaces” for thousands of children. These are places that provide children affected by the conflict with a comforting environment that helps them cope with the uncertainty around them, learn and play, and gives them the time and space to just be children with trusted caregivers from their community. Our partners are also teaching parents and teachers how to recognise and help children showing signs of distress, and are providing individual support to extremely vulnerable children.

Education: We are supporting schools to stay open and are setting up temporary learning spaces where they are not, so that 14,400 children can access safe and quality learning opportunities. We will provide over 10,000 children with back-to-school kits which include a child’s backpack, pencils and notebooks, and support over 400 teachers with training and providing teaching materials.

Health: Families and children are struggling to access health care when they most need it. Save the Children is supporting health centres and hospitals across the country, providing them with appropriate equipment and services specifically for children, pregnant women and new mothers. We are also carrying out a vaccination campaign to protect thousands of children from potentially deadly diseases.

Hunger and Nutrition: Families urgently need food assistance. We are supporting our partners’ distributions of flour to bakeries to provide families with bread, which reaches over 25,000 people. The widespread, unsafe use of breast milk substitute (milk powder) is placing babies’ lives at risk from malnutrition and diarrheal disease. We are supporting partners to check babies for signs of malnutrition, and are providing support to ensure mothers are able to feed their babies safely, encouraging breastfeeding through counselling and providing kits showing how to sterilize water for the milk powder and how to clean feeding cups to prevent illness.

Thousands of families are struggling to access enough food inside Syria. We are supporting thousands of families by distributing food baskets with simple items like rice, oil and tinned fish, and are providing direct support to bakeries with the provision of flour, so that the production of bread, a cultural staple, can continue.

Supplies for Families: When families flee their homes, they bring almost nothing with them. We have supported our partners to provide warm clothing for over 5,000 children during the winter, and provide over 12,000 bed nets and over 1500 bottles of mosquito spray over the summer. Our partners will continue to distribute newborn baby kits, cooking sets, and other household items to support families with their basic daily needs.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: In response to rising summer temperatures and families’ limited access to clean water or sanitation facilities, Save the Children has supported partners to deliver clean water to over 700 hundred families displaced from their homes and 1,500 hygiene kits including buckets and soap. Save the Children is also supporting clean-up campaigns to remove debris and clean up the streets.

Watch our video to learn more about how Save the Children is helping Syria's children.

Childhood Under Fire

Save the Children has released a new report, Childhood Under Fire. (Read the press release.) The groundbreaking report details how some young boys are being used by armed groups as porters, runners and human shields, bringing them close to the frontline, while some girls are being married off early to 'protect' them from a widely-perceived threat of sexual violence. Read the report.

Syria Petition Drive

Save the Children launched a campaign to Stop the Crimes Against Syria's Children. The response was phenomenal — more than 60,000 people signed the petition.
Learn more and watch the video of the petition delivery.

In the News:

Meet the Press:
Ann Curry talks about the children impacted by the war in Syria. Watch Now

Public Radio International's The World:
Save the Children's President and CEO, Carolyn Miles, talks about child refugees in Syria. Read More and Listen to the Interview

ABC News reports: Bob Woodruff of ABC News blogs about his experience with Save the Children at a refugee community. Read his blog.

Watch Carolyn Miles, on PBS NewsHour


Our Response in Neighboring Countries

 

Egypt: The Egyptian Government estimates that the total number of Syrian refugees in Egypt is more than 140,000, including close to 65,000 children. Syrian refugee numbers in Egypt had been relatively low up until the end of 2012, but since January 2013, it has been increasing rapidly with many of the neighboring borders to Syria closed. There are no official camps, and there are not enough health, psycho-social, and educational services available to meet the needs. Save the Children has been in Egypt since 1982, and already has programs in Education, Health, Nutrition, Community Development, Child Protection and Emergency Relief and Recovery.

Iraq: As of May 2, there were nearly 150,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq, and up to 900 Syrians cross into Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region daily. In the overcrowded Domiz camp, families share tents and the overflow has spilled beyond the perimeter fence. The Kurdistan Regional Government is negotiating with UNHCR and communities to open two new camps and has kept its border open, but is increasingly unable to cope with increased strains on its infrastructure and economy, especially with inadequate humanitarian support. To date, the Save the Children has focused on child protection, distribution of essential supplies and youth livelihood activities. While there are limited basic education opportunities for young children, education for youths is completely lacking. Our Youth-Friendly Spaces offer some activities and limited life/work skill and vocational trainings, but we currently have no funds for formal education for older children.

Jordan: There are nearly 550,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan - one-third of the region’s refugees. Most are women, children or elderly. There are three camps in Jordan, and the government and aid agencies are struggling to respond to overcrowding in the camps, and shortages of food, water, sanitation and health facilities. Save the Children has reached nearly 250,000 people in Jordan, and has provided 28.13 metric tons of bread through our daily bread distribution. We continue to reach over 1,500 children between the ages of 5 and 11 through 29 Child-Friendly Spaces, and over 300 children between 12 and 15 years old continue to attend child resiliency activities. Funding priorities for Jordan include early childhood development, combatting childhood labor, protecting children in refugee camps and host communities through Child-Friendly Spaces, and building capacities for referral mechanisms to respond to children at risk of abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation.

Lebanon: More than 2,000 Syrians arrive daily in Lebanon. UNHCR conservatively predicts that by the end of 2013, one in five people in Lebanon – over one million people – will be refugees from Syria. Most families live in substandard housing and struggle to access registration and other humanitarian services. The refugees arrive with very little, and household expenses (especially rent, utilities, transport and food) are far greater than the limited income opportunities available to them. We have been able to reach more than 47,000 children, by providing assistance with basic necessities. Only 25% of refugee children are attending schools due to space limitations, language barriers and difficulty accessing schools. Funding priorities for Lebanon include establishing and maintaining Child Friendly Spaces, providing health care and water and sanitation in the Bekaa Valley, and providing a broad range of education-related activities and assistance for Syrian children.