Civil Society Organizations' Relief and Development Work in Eastern Ghouta After Its Liberation from Terrorism

Civil Society Organizations operating in Syria have exerted tireless efforts and worked hard on ground in cooperation with the Syrian government’s establishments to meet citizens’ different needs and raise their awareness about the big challenges and difficulties Syria has been facing over the years of the terrorist war imposed on the country.

These organizations have been active in Syria's Eastern Ghouta since its liberation from terrorism by the Syrian Arab army a year ago to help the local community there restore normal and decent  life. They have been carrying out a number of relief activities and development programs in coordination with the Labor and Social Affairs Directorate of Damascus countryside. Such programs, which targeted different age categories, focused on relief work, support for micro-sized projects, vocational training, social protection and awareness campaigns.

"Various services have been provided by civil society organizations to citizens of Al-Ghouta. Psychological support programs and entertainment activities were carried out to help the children of Ghouta overcome the fear and anxiety they have suffered for years due to the terrorist groups’ crimes which also prevented them from their basic rights to play and learn”, Mrs. Fatima Al-Rasheed , Director of the Labor and Social Affairs Directorate in Damascus countryside told SANA correspondent .

 Al-Rasheed underscored that the services also targeted  people with disabilities through providing kinetic aid to 372 individuals.

She pointed out that “ Ahel Al-Sham” initiative, which includes 70 civil society organizations, targeted the youths through carrying out  training and educational  courses, life skills  and financed carrying out micro-sized projects .

“The initiative distributed water tanks to families in Al-Nashabiya area as well as requirements of health centers and schools in the towns of Haza and it rehabilitated water wells in some towns,” Al-Rasheed, said, adding that  "Ahel-Al-Sham" initiative in cooperation with Harasta charity society established a sewing workshop project as well as a vocational training center in Harasta area, to help women, who are the bread winners of their families, find a way to get income.

Concerning support for micro-sized projects, Al-Rasheed made it clear that in coordination with Ahel Al-Sham initiative in Al-Ghazlanyeh area, funding was granted to 88 families for sheep breeding projects . 13 more families were provided funding for bee-breeding projects  and the same was done in Haran Al-Awamid area. Besides,  200 families in Harasta were granted funding for chicken-breeding projects.

Regarding the issue of raising awareness, she said that a number of symposiums were held and lectures were delivered on electronic media, the danger of drugs and the importance of early intervention for the detection of disability. A number of artistic and literary evenings were also held.

Talking about the future plan, Al-Rasheed said “with the aim of providing more services to the towns of Eastern Ghouta , focus will be put on opening social care centers for people with disabilities and on working out joint awareness programs and plans in cooperation between the ministries of Education, Culture, Awqaf and Labor and Social Affairs targeting youths, women and children". Focus will also be put on creating job opportunities and on citizens’ active involvement in the implementation of social development programs, she added.

It is worth mentioning that the total number of civil society organizations working in Damascus countryside is 241.

Rawaa Ghanam