SPARK is a Dutch-registered charity set up in 1993. It believes that sustainable economic growth is essential for establishing self-reliance and thereby poverty alleviation. Creating jobs for youth in conflict-affected societies and enabling an environment for young people to improve their socioeconomic positions are central to this vision. Through job creation, SPARK aims to diminish the potential for conflict, giving special attention to marginalised groups such as women, returning refugees and internally displaced people. SPARK works in highly complex environments, including fragile states undergoing economic, social and political change such as Kosovo, Serbia, the Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, South Sudan, Lebanon, Jordan, Syrian and Turkey. In the Syria context, it is particularly active in providing higher education programmes for young Syrians, enabling them to continue their education.

In 2017, the Asfari Foundation is supporting SPARK’s Turkish language scholarships for Syrian students. At least 100,000 Syrian 16-24 year olds are in Turkey, where less than 5% have access to higher education, and where Syrian students have to pass the TOMER exam in Turkish language academic proficiency to be able to continue their education at Turkish universities. Asfari funding is enabling 56 young Syrians in Gaziantep to access this Turkish language nine-month course. Scholarships will be available for them upon successful completion of this training, allowing them to continue their education at universities in Turkey. Psychosocial support will also be provided to students through extracurricular activities.