Syria: giving families back their livelihoods
Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, entire cities have been destroyed. Millions of Syrians have been driven into exile to escape the constant fighting. Families remaining in the country face precarious living conditions in ruined neighbourhoods, making them increasingly dependent on our aid.
According to the UNHCR, more than 5.6 million refugees have fled the Syrian crisis since March 2011. A further 6.1 million Syrians have been displaced inside the country's borders, half of whom are children. These families are often living in extremely difficult conditions. Millions of buildings have been destroyed over the past seven years, leaving the entire country in ruins. Despite these challenges, a few families are returning to their homes to try and find new means of subsistence.
Steve Ringel, head of emergency aid at Terre des hommes (Tdh), visited the region several weeks ago. “The city of Homs is almost completely destroyed. But families are still returning. Many of the places they knew are in ruins. They need shelter, protection against the cold and access to medical care. We must do our part to help these families attempting to rebuild their lives.”
For the past six years, Tdh has worked with a local partner in a community centre in the rural area of Damascus, in the western Ghouta region. We distribute essential goods and provide psychosocial activities to children and their parents. A total of 1500 children and parents, traumatised by war, have received psychological support.
“In Syria, assistance programmes are difficult to implement because of the problems in accessing many regions. Transporting material is complicated due to sanctions, and conflict stops a lot of emergency aid from getting through. Children haven't attended school in years. Many need to work to help their families survive,” explains Ringel.
Since the start of the conflict, Tdh has worked directly with Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Greece. Now we are looking to expand our operations in Syria, with the goal of improving the daily lives of thousands of children and their parents.
Photo credit: © Tdh/Ollivier Girard