This week marks five years since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, which has claimed more than 270,000 lives, caused 4.8 million Syrians to flee their country as refugees, and displaced 6.6 million Syrians within their own country.
While last month’s the truce between government and opposition forces provides a hope for lasting peace, Syrian refugees throughout the Middle East and Europe face an uncertain future. Refugee camps are struggling to keep up with growing numbers of migrants, and several countries have reduced the number of refugees they’re willing to take in.
Thanks to your support of this relief fund, many refugees’ prospects are considerably brighter. Today I’d like to share three stories that illustrate the impact you’ve had over the last five years through our partners on the ground.
A scene from JEN’s football tournament at the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan
Since 2012, Japan Emergency NGO (JEN) has worked in Za’atari, Jordan’s largest refugee camp, where more than 80,000 Syrians reside. JEN has ensured access to clean water and sanitation, promoted hygiene measures to prevent disease outbreaks, and delivered supplies to help refugees weather the harsh winters.
Last fall, in an effort to promote greater collaboration and understanding among the camp’s residents, the local population, and NGOs, JEN organized a football tournament (or soccer, to our American readers). The tournament was a huge success, and in addition to fostering camaraderie, JEN used the tournament as an opportunity to distribute hygiene kits and teach daily hygiene practices to children through role playing.
Brothers Muhamed and Mamun enjoy a snack at the Krnjaca refugee camp in Serbia
Due to changing admittance policies for asylum seekers, many Syrian families have found themselves in limbo, residing in camps in the Balkans until asylum opportunities improve elsewhere in Europe.
One such family recently arrived in a camp in Krnjaca, Serbia, just outside Belgrade, with three young children — five-year-old Muhamed, his younger brother Mamun, and their baby sister Arba. Since leaving Damascus a year ago, they’ve traveled between camps in Lebanon, Turkey, Germany, Croatia, and now Serbia in search of a safe haven.
Pomoc deci, a Serbian NGO supporting refugees in Krnjaca, welcomed them to the camp and made sure their family had necessary supplies for the winter—warm jackets and shoes, blankets, tents—and provided toys for the children and psycho-social assistance.
Araxi’s vertical garden in Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon
Food insecurity is a major issue facing many Syrian refugees. Since few are able to find employment in their host countries, they’re often wholly reliant on aid organizations in order to feed their families.
Near East Foundation (NEF) is improving this situation through cost-effective urban agriculture, and recently shared a story of their work with a woman named Araxi. She fled Syria three years ago with her family of four and now lives in Bourj Hammoud, a city outside Beirut, Lebanon. Like many of the 18,000 refugees in the city, Araxi’s family struggles to earn enough money to put food on the table in addition to paying for housing and school for her two children. With help from NEF, Araxi installed a vertical garden kit in her home and now is able to grow onions, garlic, thyme, marjoram, and mint, saving money she’d otherwise spend at the market while improving her family’s diet.
With support from more than 6,600 donors like you in 65 countries, these are just a few of the success stories you’ve helped make possible. Thank you so much for bringing hope to those in need these last five years.
Britt Lake + the GlobalGiving Team
P.S. If you’d like to spread the word about the situation facing Syrian refugees and the vital work our partners are doing to help them, you can help by sharing this factsheet on social media.