The Syria Trust for Development Initiative to Help under-five Displaced Children

In recent months, thousands of Syrian families who fled their homes in volatile suburbs and headed to cities to seek safety ended up staying either in schools, public parks or relative's houses.

796 shelters

As for the number of schools which have been occupied by the displaced families, according to a statement by Education Ministry, it is estimated at 796 all over Syria. However, there are no statistics about the families using public parks and relative's houses as a shelter.

In this context, some reports cited the decrease of schools being occupied by the displaced families in Syria by the beginning of the new school year (September 16) through moving most of them to other governmental buildings.

NGO's initiatives

The fact of sheltering displaced families in schools and parks has imposed on the Non-Governmental Organizations challenging initiatives in the field of relief and humanitarian aid as a real partner in the societal development process.  

The aid offered by these NGO's is not limited to food and medicine as it also includes recreational activities for children and adolescents in the schools.

Aid  partners

One of these NGO's that is lending a helping hand in this field is the Syria Trust for Development (STD) which is networking with governmental bodies and partners to provide all needed facilitation to work.

South region

Speaking to the Syria Times, the Trust's South Region's press official Miss. Areej Bawadekji, said: " a week before Ramadan month, we started our work in helping displaced families in 32 schools in Damascus.''

On individual basis, the Trust team has taken the first step through contacting municipalities' heads, Education Ministry, Damascus Governorate, and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.

Local society                                                                                                                               

"The cooperation of these governmental bodies besides local community in each region plays prominent role in keeping on aid works in the schools supervised by the Trust," Miss. Bawadekji noted.

The government's serious support for the NGO's and local community refutes allegations of circulated reports that the Syrian displaced families in schools solely relying on help of local community and charity.  

Nevertheless, no one can deny that charity is the main source of financing causalities in all world crises.

The cooperation has been manifested in mechanism of the Trust team's work in the schools. Miss. Bawadekji clarified that some 20 volunteers are working in each school and they directly contact families in 16 schools in Damascus to define their needs and to make them feel safe.

"Kafo" initiative

This communication drew the attention of the Trust team to the priority of health initiative to help under-five children who are suffering from malnutrition.

"The (Kafo) initiative is based on a network including concerned bodies in field of health to offer services to the children, not only during their stay in the schools; but also after returning to their homes," Miss. Bawadekji added.

With this in mind, the initiative launched its first activity on September, 5, 2012, in cooperation with the UNICEF, in "Somaya alMakhzomeyeh" school where about 45 children were medically examined and provided with necessary medication.

"The first activity also included a training session for volunteers on diagnosing malnutrition, blood-pressure measuring, and reading data," Miss. Bawadekji said.

This initiative is just an example of the humanitarian aid being offered by the Trust in one field to alleviate the impact of crisis currently facing the Syrian people.

The Syria Trust for Development is a non-governmental, non-profit organization established in 2001 to empower individuals and communities in Syria to fulfill their role in building their society and shaping their future.


Basma Qaddour