Some SYP 120mln Transferred to Civil Society Associations to Provide Relief Services to Terrorism-Hit Families

DAMASCUS, (ST) - As part of the government's plan to ease the suffering of the victims of armed terrorist groups, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs transferred an amount of (SYP) 120 million to 105 civil society associations working in the relief field as a financial aid with the purpose of supporting these associations and help them provide necessary assistance to terrorism-hit families living in and outside temporary housing centers.

Jasem Mohammad Zakarayya, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, said in a statement to SANA that "The financial aid is to enable civil society associations to meet all the requirements of displaced families in temporary housing centers, including diesel oil, stoves, winter clothes and other basic needs. In addition, a kind of financial assistance is to be presented to citizens in need under the Ministry's supervision."

Minister Zakarayya, who reiterated the need to render assistance to all terrorism victims in different areas of the country, pointed out that within the National Relief Program the Higher Relief Committee provides assistance to 400 thousand affected families in and outside temporary housing centers based on its own data.

"The Higher Committee, in cooperation with concerned parties and in coordination with the Syrian Red Crescent Society as well as the civil society association, is following up the distribution of the aid and working hard to eliminate obstacles hindering the transferring of the this aid in order to guarantee just distribution.

Financial aid is provided to remarkably active civil society associations which proved ability to run relief activities.


H. Moustafa

On the eve of the new year

There are moments in a man's life when one has to say farewell, yet this carries hope and the will of renewal.

A year passes away leaving its imprints on everything: the masses and their movements, events and their effects, the good and what brings of happiness, evil and its misery, nature and the changes of its signposts, knowledge which increases and civilization with its progress and development.

Yes... let's us open new pages and write new lines about the new year. Let us write with hope, with aspiration to the good of mankind, with our self- confidence to live effectively extending the hand of love to every one, for the new world, the shining sun, the blue sky, the fresh air, peace, love, brotherhood,  for the children and their innocence, hope for hope and a bright future for mankind.

with all those things, we receive our new days, our new year.What happiness we long for! what hopes we aspire to! What meetings will be! What changes will take place!

The first day begins. I imagine that I am wandering from one place to another, to see families having their delicious meals and drinks. In the eyes of the members of these families are the flashes of pain, yet their hearts beat for a real pleasure in the future. The faces are laughing though what they have faced over the past year. Their thoughts are blooming in spite of the hardships they have suffered. All people are meeting, laughing and singing a new happy year.

On this occasion, I cannot help remembering my homeland. Will those who are sad for a long time be happy again? Will they meet around the table of unity? Will the terrorism be defeated? Will justice triumph?

On this new year's eve, we will stand up to our dignity and honor. Oh.. our Jerusalem, Golan we shall return to you. History writes it down, time passes and our nation is not going to surrender to injustice. We will return to you as a new year has come. We will return to carry olive branches, exchange greetings and sit around, we will be glad to receive the new year.




Syria Times Reporters Tour Yarmouk Camp




Displaced Palestinian families began returning  to their houses in the Yarmouk Camp after they were enforced to leave their homes by the armed terrorist groups’ attacks on them.

The families  were forced to leave the camp last Sunday, following hard terrorists attacks on them, and they were welcomed by Syrian families, the governmental schools and UNRWA’s schools and training centers in and around Damascus.

According to Palestinian humanitarian activists about seven thousand Palestinians could return to their houses in the camp.

Syria Times reached to the camp and met with families who returned to their houses after days of displacement : Yusuf, 40, Palestinian refugee lives with his wife and four children in Aroubah quarter , southern the Yarmouk Camp said to Syria Times reporter, while he was fixing his house and preparing it for his frightened family’s members:

“ I am so happy that I could return to my house again. When we left last Sunday’s afternoon, I expected I will never ever see my  house again. We were living in peace and calm in the camp and practice normal life till those armed terrorists attacked our quarter and enforced us to leave. They were very hard with us and told us to leave in few hours or we will be killed. In a rush, I told my wife to prepare some garments and clothes for the children to leave the house. I phoned my brother who lives in Jiddedah Artouz, 15km south western Damascus, and told him to host us. My brother was very kind with us and he offered for us what we need although he is very poor man who has five sons and daughters. I will never forget the hardest two hours till we could leave the camp. The armed terrorists were touring in their arms and frighten unarmed residents who were running with their sons, women, elders and carrying big bags in their hands. I am happy that the Syrian Arab Army helped us to return to our  houses in peace. The Palestinians will never forget what the President Bashar Al-Assad and Syrian government offered them. Palestinians in Syria want to live in peace and they are guests in this country till they can return to their hometowns in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

Syria Times made a tour in the camp and watched how life began returning  to normalcy. Some shops, restaurants, and bakeries are opened for people who wanted to buy their needs and food stuff. Dozens of cars and trucks were driving in the Camp’s main street.

There were some families were waiting at the Camp’s northern entrance near Al-Basher Mosque, for their relatives and families’ members to entre to the camp together.

Abu Kinan, 45, a Palestinian refugee who  works in a private textile factory southern Damascus. He lives in his father-in-law’s house, near Al-Wassim Mosque in the Yarmouk Camp, with his family because they were enforced to leave their own house in Al-Hajar Aswad suburb, southern Damascus, which was attacked by the terrorist groups. Abu Kinan’s family was enforced to be displaced  for the second time in three months. He said:

“ I am calling the Syrian Arab Army to eliminate  these terrorist groups from the country. Syria was the most secure and stable state in the region. My family and I  are suffering for more than four months from those killers who use Islam and democratic slogans to cover their crimes. We left our house in Alhajar Aswad to move to my father-in-law’s three-room house in the Yarmouk Camp. My children were suffering hard to reach to their schools and saw the armed fighters deployed  around their schools and frightening  them. I left the camp as all people did last Sunday to a governmental school in Al-Zahara to spent a hard cold night with other displaced families; then next day I went to Khan Sheih Camp, 25km south western Damascus, to my friend’s house who offered us a room to spend three days. I and other hundred of Palestinian refugees organized a big rally on Thursday, December21, calling for the  kicking off of  all armed fighters and terrorists from the camp. The Palestinian camps in Syria always were safe and secure shelters for all people and should be kept safe and unarmed zone for Palestinian refugees and their Syrian brothers. No Arab state deals with Palestinians as Syria does. We , Palestinian refugees, have equal rights as Syrian citizens in all walks of life. We can work in private and public sectors, we get free education in the governmental schools and universities, and we can get free healthcare services in public hospitals and health centres. We should reward Syria and its government for all of these favors,  not stand against it. we should stand with the Syrian leadership to overcome this crisis. Friend in deed is a friend in need.”

The Camp’s residents began cleaning streets and opening shops to stress their will to keep life in the camp and challenge the terrorist groups who wanted to take the smile from the children and pushed the residents to leave their houses. The camp could overpass the crisis and give a hope that Syria will return as it was a homeland for all Arabs.


O.H/ I A




Leisure clubs to compensate Syria's affected children for missing education

With a viewto alleviatingthe suffering of children in Syria, Education Ministry and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) are working together to open leisure clubs in areas affected by armed terrorist groups' acts.

As a first step, the clubs opened in Daraa province target first and second stages of basic education, and it would include in the future secondary education in "al-Dorra" school in the city. 

The main goals of the clubs are to compensateaffected children for missing education opportunities, guarantee social and psychological welfarefor them, and restore the sense of normal life to them.

5 clubs

IyadKholi, a social worker, sees the experience of clubs as an opportunity for children to express their preferences through activities being held in hard times during which children feel loneliness.

"In August 2011, the clubs were opened within five schools in the province; three of which are in the city and the other two are in "Jasem" and "Harra" in the countryside," said Kholi.

He clarified that teachers, schools' directors, social workers, and volunteers have followed training courses organized by the UNICEF in cooperation with local parties concerned to work in the clubs.

The courses dealt with social and psychological support, first aid, and mental health, according to SANA reporter.

One of the clubs' students, Sari al-Saeed, said: "in the city (Daraa city), private schools and institutes which were receiving students in summer vacation have been closed."

The current events lead to both psychological and physical problems, not to mention lost of filling leisure times in activities that are useful for person and society. 

Children aged between 2-15 have paid the highest price in these events as they have been prevented from developing their preferences at personal or educational levels.


Life style

Violence has forced children to change their life style to a new one that does not go along with children's age and requirements of the Age.

Abo Mohammad, father of a student in "al-Dorra" school praised the experience that has successfully changed his son's life style after communication with his classmates.

He noted that the club's students have only one day off on Friday, describing the club as a safe place for children.

"Children sound veryenthusiastic and satisfied because of the existence of their classmates and the care being offered to them," said the father, hoping to apply the same experience in other schools in the province.

EmOmar, is a mother who refused at the beginning to send her children, who love music, to the club because she fear for them from the current events.

"At home, my children were only talking about violence as they saw killed people in the city," said the mother, stressing that her children's talks have changed after they went to the club.

Protecting environment

Director of "That al-Netaqain" school, Hala al-Taani, has a leading environmental club within the school consisting of 22 students to spread environmental awareness among students and enhance cooperation in this regard.

"This experience is the first in the province and we are planning to implement it in other schools," said al-Taani.

All year round, the club team which is divided into three groups distributes brochures on protecting environment, water, air, and soil.

In cooperation with circles concerned in the province, the groups screen educational films and give lectures on environmental awareness.

Moreover, contest are being organized at level of school and followed by distributing prizes among winners, and exposing drawings in the school's lobby.

This experience is just an example of other initiatives and activities being launched by the Syrian government, Non-Governmental Organizations and Local community to help affected people across Syria.

Translated by: BasmaQaddour

National Initiative to Train Youths to Enter Job Market




Exactly one year and fifteen days have passed since the launch of Khbrat initiative [Khbrat is a slang means: experiences], which aims to train youths free of charge to enter the job market.

The national initiative is a fruit of collective cooperation between well known Syrian companies , institutes and local community. It presents three programs on life skills, administrative training, and practical experience.

The team

The initiative's general coordinator, Mr.Alaa Ed-Din al-Aeedy, told the Syria Times reporter, Basma Qaddour,  that the "Khbrat" team includes four administrative coordinators, more than 30 volunteers working for the Syria Trust for Development, and around 20 trainers and partners.

Most of the team's members attended the 1st annual forum held on Tuesday at Reda Saeed Hall in Damascus University to honor trained youths and partners.

1300 beneficiaries

Following the forum,  al-Aeedy told us: "The initiative launched by the Syria Trust for Development was planning to train 800 youths in a year. But today the beneficiary number reached 1300 youths, who followed 74 training courses held in several companies in Damascus and Damascus countryside in a year."

This success raised the team's spirit and encouraged it to go ahead in this initiative, looking forward to spread such activities in other areas across Syria.

So thus, members of the "Khbrat" Facebook  ( ) reached 4500, according to the initiative's coordinator's remark. 

Trainees speak

One of the beneficiaries, Miss. Yara Nashawati, a University student at Faculty of Architecture Engineering, said: "Last July, I followed a two-day course on Human Resources at Administrative Department in the Technical Company for Food Industry (Hana meats).I've been trained to present my architectural designs to be convinced to companies or individuals."

Her colleague at the university, Mohammad al-Hamwi, who also took part in the same course, echoed the same words, adding: "I have also learned how to communicate with strangers."

The youths' trust in the initiative is one reason for the continuity of the national initiative, while the other one is partners' full support.


Among the partners we can number: Syriatel, Asia Institute, the Technical Company for Food Industry, Succar Company, Katakit Company, Haram Exchange Company, and the Syrian Insurance Federation Company.

Mrs. Maha Shwihni, from "Succar" Company for Electronic Industries said: "We are a partner in this initiative because we believe in social responsibility towards governmental sector and local community and universities."

She sees that the private sector has to play a key role besides the public one in developing society.

These words translated into action through holding several courses for university and school students at the company's headquarter , and employing five distinguished youths (selected from the students followed the courses) in the company.

"The Secondary school students took part in the courses have learned how to set up a company and to build their profiles as they have now enough time to build themselves. They are creative and good and made excellent presentations," said Mrs. Shwihni .

Mrs.Hivi Mustafa from " Haram" Exchange Company said: "From the view point of human resources' management, such courses are significant to enter job market. The company has selected a distinguished person from the course to join its staff."

All these efforts seek to bridge the gap between academic study and job market.

In this context, a trainer accredited by the Trust, Mr. Mohammad Basatneh, told us: "The training courses are based on our study for the companies' requirements. We train youths to be able to get a job in the market.

He is specialized in communication skills, body language, and team building. He is taking part in voluntary works to help university students and graduate ones to enter job market.

How to join courses

Regarding mechanism of joining courses, Basatneh clarified:" we put an advertisement about the courses in the Facebook and university centers. So the student can choose the course according to his/her interest."

He asserted that all youths apply to do the courses are being accepted, and they can choose the course after consultations with the initiative's team.    

Basatneh sees that the interactive courses being convened within the framework of the "Khbrat" initiative as useful for both trainees and trainers.

The 2013 plan, as the initiative's general coordinator declared, aims to hold around 150 courses to train 4000 youths.

The increasingly number of beneficiary and partners reflects the Syrian people's challenge to the current difficult circumstances, and their determination to build their homeland.

Basma Qaddour    




Markets Witness Good, Active Turnout Despite Unjust Sanctions


  The economic sanctions imposed on Syria targeting the living of the Syrian people have caused a kind of recession in the markets and a notable decrease in selling-buying activities. Traders and shop keepers have found themselves compelled to continuously search for new solutions to keep attracting consumers, so they adopt the policy of sale and special offers as a means to activate the markets and achieve mutual benefit for  both traders and consumers.

 The hard circumstances created by Western aggressors and their tools in the region have been hitting Syria and its citizens for more than 20 months causing serious damages, particularly to road networks which are often targeted by mercenary terrorists aiming at paralyzing life in the country.

“Despite difficulties, the markets continue to witness good turnout by the Syrians. Traders’ willing to supply the markets with various goods wasn’t also affected,” Abou Mazen, a cloth trader at al-Hamedeyya Souk told SANA. He pointed out that though some goods don’t arrive on time and the fare of transferring  goods grew higher, people’s appetite to buy their needs continue at a good level.

The same view was expressed by Abou Adnan, a fish dealer, who is keen to get fresh fish from the Coastal area or the Euphrates despite their high price. “Traders face obstacles in transferring their goods to main markets in internal cities because of the terrorist attacks which led to an increase in the fare of transferring goods and caused traders to pay extra money,” he said, stressing this “will not stop us.”

Touring Damascus markets, shoppers notice that all kinds of goods are available though their prices are high and different from a market to another. Traders attribute this problem to the type of customers and to shops’ fare.

 Abou Jihad, a vegetables seller, stressed that all kinds of vegetables and fruits are available in the markets with relatively acceptable prices, noting that price increase has benefited the farmers and traders who used to sell their goods “cheaply” in the past.

 Rana, a wear designer, said “the hard economic circumstances, the Syrians are currently experiencing, have deprived some citizens from buying luxurious goods and expensive clothes, pushing them to find alternatives such as tailoring.”

According to her, the increase in the prices of ready wears has enhanced people’s turnout on tailor shops. Many of her limited-income clients also tended to fix their old clothes or add to them new touches so as to appear new with a minimum cost in order to save the money to buy  more important things.

 Riham, a young woman, told SANA as she was doing her shopping in a foreign wear shop, that the increase of basic materials prices makes the interest in buying imported clothes as a kind of luxury. “Visiting such shops can be done only at the beginning of the month when salaries are still available,” she pointed out.

Um Tawfeek, a lady shopper, stressed that she can buy her clothes from less expensive markets, particularly the popular ones where traders’ profit rate is rational.

“Some economic figures working in the domains of wears and shoes are keen to invent new methods to attract customers such as adopting the policy of sale and special offers,” according to Yaser, a shoes shop keeper. He pointed out that he moved his shop from Aleppo to Damascus to continue his work, attract new customers and maintain the quality of his goods.

Owner of a wear agency at al-Hamra street, a Damascus shopping Center, said “To keep working, we need to adapt ourselves to the current circumstances and to deal with medium-income customers by implementing a sale policy that attracts more shoppers and achieves an acceptable range of profits.

Abdul Qader, a  wear shop keeper at al-Hamra Street, said prices remained normal despite the increase of prices of basic materials caused by the ups and downs of the US dollar’s price. He pointed out that wear markets witness normal movement and good turnout particularly at the end of each month.

Um Kamal, a shopper, said that she regularly goes shopping at al-Hamra Center as it contains the trendy wears she and her daughters need though they are very costly.

A perfume shop keeper at al-Hamra stressed that the turnout to buy this kind of goods has decreased, pointing out that this recession didn’t make him think of closing his shop or increasing his goods prices.

In this context, Mu’az, a cellular phones trader, said the decrease of the (SYP) purchase price has upped mobile phones prices, particularly high-tech ones, at about 20-50 percent. He stressed that the turnout to buy this kind of phones hasn’t been so affected as some regular customers continue to change their mobiles from time to time when a new and more developed generation of mobile phones is introduced to the markets.


H. Moustafa


Channel your inner child and make life joyous

Nowadays, we are passing in very hard times, we can’t control our temper, because we have terrorists in our beloved country Syria, who destroy and kill and even kidnap women, old people and children,  but I want to tell you not to give up hope, because you feel awful right now, we have very brave soldiers, and we have love all around us, the Syrian people are very helpful, very nice and adorable.  Everyone has times in their life when they feel they have fallen in a great big hole and can't get out. You can get out though. Nothing is ever useless if we try hand by hand, to make it right again. Don't forget that tomorrow is another day, but  it can never be a bright tomorrow if you refuse to see it. Sometimes you just need to trust that things will be okay again at some point. You simply need to deal with what life has handed you, but you don't have to do it alone. You can wait out this sadness and you can do something productive about it. Let your self shine like you were meant to and keep trying. If you want to be a good, citizen and productive, just watch your child, how he navigates the world, with no boundaries, yes be a child and work.

When I became a headmaster in a Dutch school, I had no control upon my temper, my reaction towards anything wrong, was over, a friend of mine called (Dick hoojen)supervisor in the school gave me a letter, to read and keep, and apply in my practical life.

In his letter he said: my child gave me valuable lessons, to take into my business and life, believe it or not, kids are wonderful mentors, and as much as we think we are teaching them, they have a lot to teach us:

1. Stay Calm

If my son is deejaying at a gig and something goes wrong with the equipment or otherwise, he remains completely calm and poised. He doesn’t get flustered; he simply troubleshoots and signals a technician if he needs extra help. I would be stressed in that moment, but somehow he doesn’t stress out. Freaking out doesn’t fix anything, It’s a great lesson in how to handle unexpected situations that come up in your business. Just take deep breaths and stay calm.

2. Dream Big and Have Passion

When my son was only five years old, he would speak about his desire to travel the world to play music. He would even tell his teachers to give less homework because he knew he was going to be on a mission to make the world happy with music. In a few short years, he met his mentor DJ Cassidy and has already traveled around the country and world playing the music he loves for crowds young and old. Now, he is talking about the hotel and restaurant he is going to open when he is nineteen. I learn from this lesson to reach for my dreams and harness my goals and that there is no limit to what I can do if I believe and put effort into it, and this has been the root of my work.

3. Get Outside

Kids thrive in the outdoors; they need green space for sanity, and so do we. With Vitamin D deficiencies on the rise, it’s time to schedule a little outdoor fun. My son loves to ride his bike and play soccer. He makes friends and uses his imagination to create epic outdoor adventures in the ambient landscape. We should do this too! Whether at your lunch break or on your way to and from work, find an excuse to be outside. It feels nice to be barefoot in the grass and lay in the sunshine, even for ten minutes. It will change the course of your day. I make time for outdoor exploration to attune my energy, so I am excited and engaged when I get back to my desk.

4. Play Games

I watch my son play chess, checkers, and monopoly, which have taught him strategy as well as patience. Monopoly taught him about money and mortgages. He is comfortable with money, and his mind is very sharp. He also finds games to be relaxing .Sometimes I play with him, and when I am alone, I play with my computer, and find that some of my best ideas come from unorganized and unstructured time.

5. Systems Thinking

We had gone to the park one afternoon, when we finish our trip, and were about to ride the car, I realized that I had forgotten my keys inside the car, I was nervous, and just began to shout, he stayed calm, then he said: “Dad my mother has another key, will you telephone her to bring it “ here I realized that,” when you are angry your thinking stops, we should be open-minded to what’s possible. Being open to seeing different solutions makes you an agile parent and a savvy businessperson”.

6. Chill Out

My son loves to spend time in nature and insists on his downtime upstate to connect with dogs, lizards, and kittens, read books, skip rocks, and hang himself on trees, he is not on the computer or watching television; he is really balanced because of the outside time. This is how he finds peace. I learn from him to take weekends for myself. I unplug from the media, internet, and phone and do what I love to do—spend time with friends, take baths, relax, and let my mind be at ease. When I get back to my work after these moments of taking some personal time, I am sharper and more focused.

8. Negotiate

My son is a masterful negotiator. He doesn’t take no for an answer because he thinks there is always a way to get what he wants by talking things through. It’s great to see a kid operate this way. One weekend, my son was writing a copious letter to his teacher, and I asked him what it was for. He replied, “I know I should be skipped to the next reading level, and I am writing a persuasive letter to tell my teacher why.” He was in first grade and knew with such conviction that he needed to be challenged and that there was a way he could work something out with his teacher. After reading his letter and testing him, she bumped him up to the next level. In business, we often second guess ourselves and wonder whether or not we are worthy of asking for a certain fee, or we fail to negotiate and leave money on the table. Speak up and ask for what you want and deserve. If a seven year old can do it, so can we.

9. If It’s Not Fun, Don’t Do It

This is a great lesson. Kids are concerned with having fun. Life is about joy, and kids embody that. My son has always been one to do what is the most fun, so cooking, soccer, deejaying, rapping, tending to animals, reading books—these are all things he lives for! And he packs these fun activities into his schedule on a daily basis. If something comes along that is outside of the sphere of things he is interested in doing and is not fun, he disengages and goes back to playing or doing the stuff he likes. This is huge for me because I used to perform tasks that didn’t give me joy because they simply needed to get done. I now know that my energy should be funneled into doing what I love, what comes naturally, and what I do best. I can delegate the tasks that I don’t like as much. This keeps my work exciting and allows me to focus my resources into creative output!

At last I say: this letter had changed my life, and will notice a difference in your work performance and overall happiness in your life, when you implement these lessons. Being a grown up doesn’t have to sound so bad, after all if we can channel our inner child and make life joyous! . say with me “ I’ll take more time to laugh and smile, to feel the wind upon my face, to learn true wisdom from a child, I always ask my God to give my soul the needed space as to live life pure and clear”.


                                                                                                               Butheina Alnounou

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