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Syrian Refugee Relief Fund

by GlobalGiving's Disaster Recovery Network
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
Photo from Echo100Plus
Photo from Echo100Plus

Seven years since the outbreak of civil war in their country, 5.6 million Syrians are now refugees, with 151,000 Syrians newly registering as such so far in 2018. The ongoing conflict threatens to drive this number higher in the coming months. The leader of the Syrian Civil Defence volunteer rescue workers (also known as the White Helmets) is warning that millions of residents in the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib are at risk if the recently agreed upon ceasefire should fail. The city and its surrounding province are home to more than 3 million people, the majority of whom have fled from other parts of Syria in search of safety, and experts predict that a siege of Idlib could result in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people being displaced and heading for the Turkish border.

More than 600 miles from Idlib, 7,357 Syrian refugees have made the perilous voyage from Turkey to Greek islands in the Aegean Sea in search of safety so far in 2018. In this update I’d like to share progress being made by three of our nonprofit partners assisting these refugees on the islands of Leros and Lesvos:

  • In December 2016 Echo100Plus launched the Echo-Hub, a community center in the town of Lakki on Leros, to help arriving refugees integrate and thrive in their new surroundings. Since then, the number and diversity of the programs they offer has increased substantially, and now includes European language classes; IT and coding classes; creative workshops on film, music, sewing, and pottery; and physical activities like soccer, basketball, yoga, swimming, and hiking. Their teachers and volunteers have now taught more than 700 English classes, and their students have a 98% success rate when taking their English Speaking Board exams.
  • Lighthouse Relief’s emergency response team has assisted 124 boats carrying 3,674 people arriving on the island Lesvos. Their team staffs nearly round-the-clock lookout shifts from the shore, assists landings, and then helps refugees reach transitional camps. Throughout the summer and fall, volunteers with their Eco Team have led beach clean ups that have collected 42 dinghies, 692 lifejackets, 555 bags of garbage, and numerous pieces of debris from broken boats.
  • The Advocacy Project has partnered with Sewing 4 Solidarity, a volunteer-led initiative on Leros, to train 30 refugee and migrant women in making handbags, helping them secure a steady source of income for themselves and their families. Beyond the financial benefits to participants, the project has been designed to provide the women with a supportive environment of their peers and an opportunity to build their self-confidence through the development of a valuable skill.

Thank you for joining more than 9,000 other GlobalGivers who’ve donated $1.79 million in support of dozens of inspiring organizations like Echo100Plus, Lighthouse Relief, and The Advocacy Project. We’re especially grateful that you made the smart choice to donate cash, rather than physical goods, to help those in need. Giving money in response to a crisis allows for quicker and more efficient deployment of resources and supports, rather than disrupts, local economies.

Watch your inbox in the coming months for our next update and more stories of how your donation is supporting Syrian refugees.

Warmly,
Will Frechette + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo from Echo100Plus
Photo from Echo100Plus
Photo from Lighthouse Relief
Photo from Lighthouse Relief
Photo from The Advocacy Project
Photo from The Advocacy Project
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Photo from Lighthouse Relief
Photo from Lighthouse Relief

While there has been more discussion recently about a limited return of refugees to their homes in Syria, April's chemical attack in Douma and the resulting airstrikes demonstrate the significant risks still facing civilians in the country. 6.6 million Syrians are now internally displaced, and another 5.6 million have fled their homeland in search of a haven from the years-long conflict, according to the U.N. High Commission on Refugees.

Your support continues to make a difference in the lives of Syrian refugees now spread across the globe. More than 9,000 GlobalGivers like you have raised $1.7 million to support 62 vetted nonprofits assisting refugees in 13 countries.

Since our last update in March, your donations have supported the work for these four projects helping refugees in Greece, Lebanon, and the United Kingdom:

Emfasis Foundation’s PhotoTherapy project in Athens is offering refugee children the opportunity to freely express their thoughts and feelings, deal with trauma, socialize by participating in group activities, and receive the psychological support they need. The children's photos are also traveling around the world, highlighting the real problems facing refugees through the eyes of children.

Lighthouse Relief's team on the Greek island of Lesvos has assisted 1,054 new refugee arrivals since the beginning of 2018, nearly double the number who arrived over the same timeframe in 2017. Lesvos is currently home to more than 7,000 refugees, and while that figure continues to rise more NGOs have been leaving the island, resulting in Lighthouse Relief's team being the only group helping new refugee arrivals on the island's north shore.

In Lebanon, a large majority of refugees live outside the capital in Beirut and are unable to access humanitarian help or essential services. INSAN Foundation operates a bus which brings their diverse team of psychologists, doctors, social workers, and animators to camps on capital's outskirts to find emergency solutions to the problems facing refugees and provide holistic support for children and families. They were recently able to expand their reach and now regularly visit and serve five refugee camps throughout the Bekaa Valley.

All too often, Syrian refugees arriving in Europe to seek sanctuary are experiencing a range of human rights violations and inhumane living conditions. Refugee Rights Europe visits refugee camps and communities in France, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere to document exactly what is happening, present their reports to government officials and media members across the continent, and then advocate for the protection of human rights of all refugees living in Europe.

I also wanted to let you know about an upcoming opportunity to double your impact for GlobalGiving partners assisting refugees worldwide. In recognition of World Refugee Day on June 20th, we will be matching donations 100% to projects helping refugees of all kinds, from all countries, while our $100,000 in matching funds remain. Donations to this relief fund won't be matched, but all the projects this fund has supported will be. Watch your inbox on June 20th for an email with recommended projects to support!

Thank you again for your generous support of the Syrian Refugee Relief Fund, and for making the smart choice to donate money to fund a community-led response to the ongoing refugee crisis.

Warmly,
Will Frechette + the GlobalGiving Team



Photo from Emfasis Foundation
Photo from Emfasis Foundation
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Photo from Insan Association
Photo from Insan Association

There’s been much discussion in recent months about whether governments like Lebanon’s would force Syrian refugees to return to home. Humanitarian and aid agencies warn that Syria is not yet safe enough for the return of its refugees.

While the United States and wealthy European nations are criticized for showing a lack of solidarity with the region, GlobalGiving donors like you demonstrate unwavering support for those who’ve fled violence and persecution in Syria, only to encounter life-threatening conditions in countries where they’d hoped for a safe haven.

Last spring, we invited our nonprofit partners to propose how disaster funds could support their long-term relief projects serving Syrian refugees. Because we trust that our partners know how to best serve their communities, long-term GlobalGiving grants often address specific gaps in funding that other philanthropic or government institutions may overlook.

We have since sent 73 new relief grants to our partners across the Middle East and Europe. In Lebanon specifically:

Lebanon’s prime minister, Saad Hariri, announced last month that his country will continue to provide refuge to Syrians in Lebanon. So too will GlobalGiving continue to work with our dedicated project leaders to identify and fund the ever-changing consequences of the ongoing Syrian conflict throughout the region. Thank you for your generous support that’s made this work possible.

Warmly,
Courtney Eskew + the GlobalGiving Team

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Photo from Gruppo Aleimar Onlus
Photo from Gruppo Aleimar Onlus

This fall, the number of Syrian refugees registered with the UNHCR climbed to an all-time high of 5.3 million, with more than 450,000 people living in camps. While the Islamic State has seen its hold on Syrian territory slip away in recent months, fighting between government and opposition forces has continued, leading to even more civilians seeking safety outside of Syria.  

Since our last update, your generous donations have supported 57 projects by 46 of our vetted nonprofit partners in 12 countries. In response to the massive scope of the crisis, you've helped to fund a wide range of relief work, from emergency assistance to families who've just fled the violence in Syria to holistic support for long-term residents of sprawling refugee camps in the Middle East and Europe.

You can read project reports from all of our partners assisting Syrian refugees on our website, but today I'd like highlight three high-impact projects, each based in the same country but tackling three different challenges facing refugees, that you've helped fund in 2017.

In Lebanon, a country of six million residents and currently home to more than a million Syrian refugees, employment opportunities for refugees are scarce and often risky. Because of their legal status, it's not uncommon for refugees to go unpaid for their work or be denied workplace rights afforded to Lebanese citizens. For many refugee families, this economic insecurity leads to food insecurity. Gruppo Aleimar Onlus, an Italian NGO working in the outskirts of Beirut, runs several community kitchens and thanks to support from GlobalGiving donors like you, has been able to expand their meals program from two to four days a week, and are now providing 4,800 free, nutritious meals each month to families in need.

The psychological toll of being forced to leave your old life behind in search of a safe haven may not be immediately visible but cannot be ignored. Staff from the International Association for Human Values in Tripoli, Lebanon are addressing this issue by reaching out to the large refugee community in and around the city and offering free psychosocial support. They've run 23 stress relief and resilience workshops for 775 children so far this year, and are planning to expand the program to reach 6,000 children and 1,500 parents and caregivers over the next three years. Responses from the children participating in the workshops, which you can read more of in a recent project report, have been really touching. Hassan, a fourth-grade boy, said he was thankful for the workshops because now, in his words, "I don't beat my friends or get angry with them. Even whenever I get angry then I do the breathing then I make up with them and love them all my life."

Under the best of circumstances, the experience of childbirth is no walk in the park—just ask any mother. In a refugee camp, where there is often no access to maternal and neonatal care, the ordeal can become especially traumatic. With 41% of Syrian refugee households in Lebanon having an expecting or new mother, Global One 2015 has launched a program they’re calling Box for Life to improve maternal and infant health. While it's modeled on the well-known baby box distributed to all new mothers in Finland, the Box for Life is tailored to the needs of mothers and children living in refugee camps. It includes essential items like nutritional and oral rehydration supplements, reusable diapers, breastfeeding supplements, sanitary pads and an insect net. The box itself doubles as a crib for newborns. Global One 2015's first Box of Life distribution is happening this month, with 115 new and expecting mothers receiving kits. The organization has also begun training 10 women in basic midwifery skills and another 10 women in sewing reusable diapers.

These are just three of the myriad stories your support has made possible, from just one of the 12 countries where our partners are currently operating. As I mentioned earlier, you can read all the project reports from our partners responding to the Syrian refugee crisis on our website. If you do, I think you’ll be inspired by the depth and breadth of the vital relief work that’s been done and is still underway.

I'll be back in your inbox in January to share a new update on the progress being made. Until then, thank you again for your generous support. 

Warmly,
Britt Lake + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo from International Assoc. for Human Values
Photo from International Assoc. for Human Values
Photo from Global One 2015
Photo from Global One 2015
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Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, we’ve partnered with organizations who work closely with refugee communities and respond to their needs as they see and understand them. Some of the organizations provide for immediate needs like food and shelter, and others serve longer-term needs, like addressing the causes of the crisis, or tackling the long-term social and psychological suffering that is taking place because of civil war and displacement.

3 Generations is a nonprofit that is addressing the longer-term issues related to this crisis. They document stories of human rights abuses through film and enable survivors of crimes against humanity to record their experiences as an act of healing, a call to action and to create historical evidence. Their new film, “Lost In Lebanon”, promotes improved understanding of the refugee crisis, and is drawing attention to the need for focused action.

Thanks in part to support from our Syrian Refugee Relief Fund, 3 Generations was able to finalize production on “Lost in Lebanon” and the film is being featured during Human Rights Watch’s film festival—you can watch the trailer now. Some of the funding for the film even went to employ Syrian refugees who helped with production.

And if you’re in New York City, you can see the film in person! Screenings of Lost in Lebanon will be June 15 and 17, and you can buy tickets online in advance. Donors to the Syrian Refugee Relief Fund even get discounted tickets. Here are the instructions for receiving your discount:

  • For the screening at the IFC Center on June 15, select “HRW SUBSCRIBER” rate tickets upon checkout online or at the box office.
  • For the screening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on June 17, select the “AFFILIATE” rate either online or at the box office for your discount.

Stay tuned for our World Refugee Day campaign on June 20, when we’ll be matching donations at 100% to projects supported by the Syrian Refugee Relief Fund. We have $50,000 to give away in just one day, so plan ahead and choose your favorite project to support on World Refugee Day!

Thank you for your support and dedication to Syrian refugees. We hope to see you in New York!

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