Sawa for Development and Aid

Sawa for Development and Aid (SDAID) is a Lebanese-registered grassroot organisation working with Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley. It was founded in 2011 as a reaction to the dire need for support for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and aims to improve the living conditions of these refugees by adopting a holistic approach consisting in working with all family members, in involving the refugees in the design of the projects (to best cater to their needs) and in the implementation of the projects to provide them with job opportunities. SDAID works in three streams: relief, education and development and livelihood support, reaching out to a number of beneficiaries ranging between 20,000 to hundreds of thousands. SDAID relies on its three main principles when dealing with refugees, namely ownership, agency and dignity. SDAID’s work appears in the media on a regular basis, and its founder and director Dr Rouba Mhaissen is a prominent voice on the importance of the work of Syrian civil society organisations in the Syrian conflict.Sawa2

SDAID supports alternative education projects for Syrian refugee youth in the Bekaa Valley, addressing the shortage of schooling opportunities for Syrian refugee youth in Lebanon. In 2016, the Asfari Foundation helped SDAID provide children with education, preparing them to enrol in Lebanese schools, combining this with cultural and recreational activities (such as music, art, and sports), and offering a holistic approach to learning. At least 300 children and young people benefited from this support. In 2017, the Asfari Foundation is supporting Sawa’s psychosocial support for Syrian children and youth (12-30 years old). Many young Syrian refugees in Lebanon find themselves in a frustrating situation, in which they can neither continue with their studies or find jobs given restrictions on employment. The project will provide up to 60 young people with handicraft training, bike recycling and football activities, channelling positive energy, and providing them with safe spaces and support from those around them, in addition to key new skills.