Syrian Refugee Crisis

by World Vision
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Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Nur and her daughters
Nur and her daughters

More than 1,300 Syrian refugees and members of the Turkish host community have received the support needed to establish a source of income to provide a better life for their children.

With the help of donors and partners such as the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC), World Vision has successfully implemented the Socio-economic Empowerment project “Seeds of Hope” in Turkey, starting from June 2021 and up until March 2022.

One hundred fifty beneficiaries had the chance to attend vocational courses dedicated to assisting them in achieving financial independence. This eventually enabled them to enroll their children back in school after years of dropping out. Beneficiaries who attended the courses also received transportation allowance to help them complete the training more efficiently. The project also supported 45 participants economically by providing them with the assets and equipment needed to start their hoped business apart from vocational training.

As an integrated approach, children have also been assisted with psychological support sessions and directed attention as seen needed.

Sumaya* is one example that showcased the success of the project. She sought refuge in Turkey because of the Syrian war, hoping to build a better life for her children. Upon arriving, her husband’s health got worse, and he could not work anymore. To escape poverty, Sumaya started looking for solutions to make an income for the family. She later learned about the vocational training courses implemented by TRC and the beneficiaries of the skill gained, which opened doors of employment chances and opportunities. “With my husband sick and unable to work, I heard about the Socio-economic program and learned how to make desserts and pickles professionally!” Sumaya happily shares. To help Sumaya achieve her plan to make desserts professionally, TRC also provided the necessary machinery and equipment she needed for dessert making. In addition, the same support was offered to all the 45 participants who completed training and were found eligible upon household visits.

45-year-old Nur* is another example of the highlights of the Socio-economic project. She always hoped to see her daughter pack their backpacks and get ready for school. But after seeking refuge in Turkey after fleeing from Syria in 2013, she was faced with severe financial problems. Their home was robbed, and they were left with little money to count on. With her husband falling sick and little resources available, she had to find a solution to help her daughters. She learned about the Socio-economic Empowerment project, where she attended a vocational training course that focused on bovine and ovine breeding. Nur was one of 20 beneficiaries who eventually received financial support making her dream of enrolling her children in school come true.

The Socio-economic Empowerment program supported Syrian refugees and members of the Turkish host community by providing multiple services. For example, the project aims to support beneficiaries in acquiring the skills needed for finding a source of income. For this purpose, vocational and professional training are offered, like animal husbandry [a form of agriculture concerned with raising animals], sewing, baking, or making food products. Also, all of the beneficiaries received training on how to use the skills they learned to generate income from the labor market.

Turkey continues to host the largest number of refugees worldwide, as the number of people forcibly displaced across the world due to conflict, violence, and persecution hit record levels. Turkey currently hosts some 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees along with close to 320,000 persons of concern from other nationalities. 

Syrian refugee crisis - statistics in Turkey
Syrian refugee crisis - statistics in Turkey
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World Vision and our local partners are reaching an average of 400,000 displaced people per month in Northwest Syria with WASH assistance. We provide emergency water, rehabilitate water and sewage facilities, collect solid waste, and maintain water pumping stations.

In education, World Vision and local partners helped 94,704 children and teachers in Northwest Syria in FY21 through our remedial and catch-up program, psychosocial support, back-to-learning campaign, and learning supplies distribution. We also raised their awareness about risks to child protection, including early marriage, child labor, and domestic violence.

Our team launched a multifaceted response to help mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19, including reorganizing operations at our health facilities to minimize infection and establishing isolation units in communities. We provided personal protective equipment to frontline workers and the general population, conducted trainings on infection control, mobilized the community, and raised awareness about hygiene, social distancing, mask wearing, and vaccination.

World Vision’s response also featured WASH UP!, a behavior-change program that teaches children not only how to practice healthy hygiene, but also empowers them to encourage their friends, families, and communities to do the same. We adapted WASH UP! to support the socio-emotional needs of Syrian refugee children, many of whom have experienced significant trauma.



Lebanon continued to endure multiple crises in FY21. The country dealt not only with Syrian refugees, COVID-19, and massive economic collapse, but also the lingering aftermath of the Beirut blast in August 2020. People face both drastic increases in prices and dire shortages of food, medicine, and fuel. To respond more directly to urgent needs, World Vision has created a separate Lebanon crisis response. Reporting for that response will start in FY22.

In FY21, we worked with partners to support nearly 484,000 Syrian refugees within Lebanon with food security, child protection, WASH, and education.

To help meet basic needs, World Vision provided multipurpose cash grants to 29,215 of the most vulnerable refugees in the Bekaa Valley. Their ability to earn income diminishes in the winter because of lack of agricultural or construction work. Without support, they cannot afford the warm clothes, blankets, and fuel needed to live in an area with frequent snowfall and subzero temperatures.

We reached 3,158 children with basic education and psychosocial support, conducted remotely because of COVID-19 concerns. This included early childhood education and teaching in Arabic, other foreign languages, and math, along with mental health activities.



In FY21, World Vision reached 16,882 refugee children, youth, and caregivers in Jordan through our programs in early childhood, school feeding, youth empowerment, alternative education, and remedial education. We taught new and less qualified teachers to build basic competencies in remedial and catch-up education programs, and created a practical handbook with best practices.

We rehabilitated WASH facilities in schools, in part to help promote retention of children most at risk. In the past year, we targeted nine schools in the northern governates of Jordan by installing wastewater treatment systems to reduce environmental hazards and introducing best environmental and health practices for children and teachers. We also facilitated WASH UP! to promote proper hygiene for children and raise their awareness of water conservation.



World Vision supported a livelihoods project in Turkey in FY21, training aspiring entrepreneurs to plan and successfully operate a small business. Trainees submitted their business proposals for evaluation by a committee of experienced businesspeople.

The committee provided 60 trainees—70% Syrian refugees and 30% Turkish citizens—with in-kind grants of $3,800 apiece to help them start and register small businesses, such as sewing. Those chosen had developed proposals with the greatest potential to lead to profitable microenterprises.


Life as a refugee in the Syria region can be overwhelming. Your generous support enables World Vision to help meet basic needs, improve bleak conditions, and reflect the love of God. Thank you for joining us in our work to transform lives and bring hope to vulnerable children and their families.

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The World Vision Syria Response, based out of Amman, covers programmes in Syria, Jordan and Turkey. We also have national offices in Lebanon and Iraq, responding to both domestic development/humanitarian needs and the Syrian refugee crisis.

 Since 2011, the Syria Response has been at the leading edge of World Vision’s work in fragile contexts, delivering innovative and evidence-based programming across three diverse countries.

 Directly and through partners, we support protection, health, education, livelihoods, water & sanitation, and food security projects to vulnerable families. Our approach focuses on the holistic needs of the child, embedded within their community structures.

Reaching the most vulnerable

During our fiscal year 2020 (Oct 1, 2019 -Sep 30, 2020), World Vision Syria Response reached a total of 2,065,800 conflict-affected adults and children across Turkey (1% of total reach), Jordan (5% of total reach) and Syria (94% of total reach). 

  • Almost two-thirds of people (63%) benefitted from water, sanitation and hygiene services
  • 14% of vulnerable families benefitted from World Vision supported health services
  • 8% from shelter services for displaced families
  • 6% from protection services, including psychosocial and case management support for children
  • 6% from education
  • 3% from cash and livelihoods interventions

 83% of World Vision’s beneficiaries during this period were women (26%) and children (57%)

 For full details on our impact, please see the attached FY20 annual report. Below are brief overviews of our interventions.

 Agility and adaptability during COVID-19 health crisis

The rapid worldwide spread of COVID-19 has severely affected health and economic systems in many countries. With the overarching goal to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce its impact on vulnerable children and families in Syria, Turkey, and Jordan, World Vision Syria Response has developed a holistic programme framework to respond to the emerging needs in all three country contexts. Since March 2020, the approach has been threefold:

  • scaling up preventive measures to limit the spread of disease;
  • strengthening health systems and capacity of workers;
  • supporting children impacted by COVID-19 through education, child protection, food and livelihoods

 World Vision Syria Response and partners responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with a multifaceted program that simultaneously tackled prevention of the spread, as well as mitigation of the impact of the pandemic by supporting COVID-19 isolation and treatment centres with intensive care unit (ICU) capacity, community mobilisation and awareness-raising activities on COVID-19 related topics, such as, hygiene promotion, social distancing, wearing of masks and vaccinations. The team has also increased the capacity of health staff by conducting COVID-19 related trainings, which include infection prevention and control, and reorganising the routine of operations in health facilities to minimise risk of infections trainings; while ensuring the continued provision of routine health services to people in need. From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a rapid response team was deployed in NWS that included integrated health and protection services, and support for basic water and sanitation services and distribution of hygiene kits and masks were continued.

 Despite the challenges faced during the COVID-19 global health crisis, World Vision Syria Response’s water, sanitation and hygiene activities were expanded through our local partners (International Humanitarian Relief Association IYD) and War Child, in NWS. At its heart Wash Up! is a behaviour change programme that not only teaches children how to avoid bacteria and keep clean and healthy, it also empowers children to bring healthy hygiene habits to their friends, families and communities—they become change agents. For the Syria Response context, the WaSH UP! program has been adapted to support the socio-emotional needs of Syrian refugee children, many of whom have experienced significant trauma.

Child protection programmes strive to protect those who are experiencing or are at risk of violence through contextualised and piloted interventions and improved capacity of service providers through direct trainings and workshops addressing skills and knowledge needed to respond to violence against children in all its forms. In addition, child survivors of abuse, exploitation or violence are supported through appropriate community-based care systems; which are framed within the safe spaces for children and women, community committees, service mapping and referral processes; after which they are reintegrated into their families, when possible and appropriate and that is achieved while we work with schools, communities and camps management.

Believing that families with secure, productive and resilient livelihoods can protect, educate, care for, and nurture their children from infancy to adulthood, World Vision’s livelihood interventions under the Syria Response aim at improving household level livelihoods through empowering extremely vulnerable individuals with the skills, knowledge and financial means to meet the basic and development needs of their children and families. Using skills training, small enterprise development, and cash and voucher programming, World Vision Syria Response’s livelihood programmes prioritise the following:

  • children’s needs;
  • in-country humanitarian needs;
  • the mitigation measures against the consequences of the COVID-19 health crisis, and of climate change;
  • any opportunity to conduct research and advocacy associated with the livelihood sector.

 Another sector that World Vision Syria Response prioritises is education, implementing programmes with local implementing partners for the most vulnerable out-of-school children (catch-up programme) and those who are at risk of dropping out of school (remedial programme)11. To this end, World Vision Syria Response has provided 3,229 Syrian refygee girls and boys in Azraq Camp with early childhood education and development activities, including parental training and engagement. Additionally, children and youth in Jordan are also empowered through remedial education in public schools in Jordan to ensure they are supported and retained in schools.


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Orthodox Youth Movement in Lebanon
Orthodox Youth Movement in Lebanon

Millions of Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian, and Lebanese families are struggling for survival, either because war has torn them from their homes, or they live in communities stressed by an influx of refugees and displaced families. Disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the explosion in Beirut have worsened conditions.

World Vision supports faith-based partners in these countries to respond to the urgent and long-term needs of refugees and displaced people in their midst. As of March 2021, this project reached 845,607 people.

Gaining skills to rebuild

Much of our partners’ efforts focused on empowering community members to rebuild their livelihoods and equipping youth with valuable skills. In Iraq, our partners organized business training, which included coaching, mentoring, and micro-grants for people to invest in their businesses.

In Jordan, 147 youth took classes at a digital learning lab run by Messengers of Peace, learning life skills and earning a global computer literacy certification. Also, 217 youth finished English courses through a new partnership with a local Greek Orthodox Church.

Caring for mind, body, and soul

Our partners in Lebanon were quick to adapt their programming to COVID-19 restrictions, such as conducting online early education, life skills, and psychosocial support sessions for 1,095 children. They also distributed food, hygiene, and disinfection kits to 3,217 people.

During 2021, a new network of faith leaders and faith-based organizations in Lebanon was created to mobilize people to advocate for child protection and social justice issues. The network will implement World Vision’s Channels of Hope COVID-19 vaccine module among faith leaders, equipping them to help people better understand and address concerns about the vaccine, in hopes of increasing vaccinations.

In Syria, we continued supporting a health clinic, which benefited 10,300 people during the first half of 2021, and continued working with a dialysis center, which reached a monthly average of 125 patients. In partnership with a new church partner, we distributed more than 2,000 hygiene kits to families.

(Photo) Orthodox Youth Movement (OYM), World Vision’s partner in Lebanon, distributed drawing kits to youth as part of a three-month project to bridge the divide between the host community and refugees in the Beqaa area. The project culminated in an exhibition at a local museum and cultural center showcasing the images and stories of children, reflecting the social barriers that were overcome through the project.

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Zahraa reading the storybook in her class
Zahraa reading the storybook in her class

Raya and Elmo are the champions of learning how to protect ourselves from COVID-19

 Zahraa is a 10 year old girl from Zummar sub district, located 60km northwest of Mosul with a population of 50,000. She is in the fourth grade and is from an educated family, as her father is a teacher. Zahraa comes from a large family of ten and is the second-youngest of the 8 children.                                                            

During the conflict with ISIL, Zahraa was still very young and was not even at the age to attend school. When ISIL came, her family left Zummar and moved to the city of Duhok.  At that time, the family’s economic situation suffered, causing all ten family members to stay in one small apartment.

Zahraa said, “I didn’t have friends in Duhok, as I couldn’t engage with the new community in Duhok and I wasn’t happy there.” She continued, “After we came back to Zummar I felt happy and I registered in school, and the life is happier after ISIL. I have friends in school I can play with.”

Zahraa enjoyed the WASH Up! Programme very much. Through every lesson she started following Raya and Elmo from Sesame Street in everything from washing hands to wearing shoes, and from keeping the classroom clean to keeping the toilet clean.

She said, “As I’m at home and school is closed now due to the COVID-19 situation, I still remember Raya and Elmo’s instructions regarding washing hands and keeping our personal hygiene to be healthy.  I’m ready to go back to school and finish all the remaining sessions for WASH Up!” 

Zahraa’s favorite activity was learning how to boil unsafe water, cool it, and save it in a closed bottle to protect it from germs.  She shared, “When we were in Duhok, the water amount was not enough and it wasn’t safe.”                                                                                       

Zahraa’s happiest moments were when she was given a school bag, nail clippers, toothbrush, toothpaste and washing shampoo.  Zahraa said, “Really, I was so happy with all my friends in school. I love my blue school bag so much, and I always clean it and keep it with me. My dream in the future is to become a doctor and help people.

Sesame Street with World Vision is reaching across Iraq

For this school year, World Vision Iraq provided the Sesame Street curriculum to and trained 20 teachers in Northern Iraq in Ninewa Governorate (Zummar sub-district). Through 16 sessions the children learned about personal hygiene and were encouraged to go home and share what Raya and Elmo had taught them with their families and friends. Through WASH Up! World Vision has been able to distribute 1,055 hygiene kits (school backpack, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers, and shampoo) to students.

Through the Sesame Street curriculum, children like Zahraa were more prepared to face COVID-19.  The better hygiene practices learned at school, practiced, and shared at home with their families, are not only vital in daily life, but are especially important in times like these where everyone is facing a global pandemic.

Zahraa during a WASH Up play session
Zahraa during a WASH Up play session
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Organization Information

World Vision

Location: Federal Way, WA - USA
Project Leader:
Bernadette Martin
Federal Way, WA United States

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