While we have supported a few projects in Gaza, over recent years most of the Foundation’s Relief Programme has focused on Syria.
Since the Syrian uprising in 2011, the violent suppression of that uprising, and the devastating crisis that followed, more than 470,000 Syrians have been killed and over 11m people have been forced to flee their homes. Over 4.7m Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries, which are overwhelmed. More than 13.5m people inside Syria are in desperate need of assistance, and face the danger of airstrikes, sieges, extreme poverty, kidnap and imprisonment. While aid is being provided, it tends to focus on particular geographical areas and objectives. It often does not include education for the generation that will rebuild the Syria of tomorrow: Syria’s young people.
What we do
The Foundation is deeply concerned about the terrible humanitarian emergency in Syria. Through our partners, we continue to provide basic humanitarian support inside Syria and in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
Above all, however, we also look to Syria’s future. We are concerned about the fate of thousands of young people who have endured trauma few of us can even imagine and who live in camps, shantytowns and poverty with little hope for their future, and no access to education or work. We work to give these young people their rightful education and the ability to develop their potential, and we see them as the cornerstone of a future Syria. We therefore give grants that enable young people access to secondary, vocational and higher education, whether inside Syria or neighbouring countries.
The Asfari Foundation is also much encouraged by the very impressive Syrian civil society that has emerged since the crisis started: young, creative, courageous and innovative, these organisations work on a range of issues, from emergency services and women’s education to arts and human rights, throughout Syria and in neighbouring countries. These organisations create cohesion and solidarity in a society torn apart and are well placed to assess and address local needs. We will continue to support civil society in its efforts to provide relief to fellow Syrians, will showcase the work of Syrian civil society, and elevate their voices and their vision for the future of their country to a global audience. We believe this is one of the best ways to deliver aid to Syrians in need, and that this is also an investment in the future of Syria: these organisations will form a cornerstone of the democratic Syria its citizens envision.
For the reasons above, most of the Foundation’s relief work is therefore focused on education and civil society, especially as we realise that the crisis will not end in the near future and we need to think about longer needs as well as short term humanitarian ones. Further information on the Foundation’s current Relief Programme partners can be found in the list to the right of this page.
Photo credit: Sonbola Group for Education & Development