Since the Syrian uprising in 2011, the violent suppression of that uprising, and the devastating crisis that followed, more than 470,000[1] Syrians have been killed and over 11m[2] people have been forced to flee their homes. Over 5.6m[3] Syrians have fled to and are hosted by neighbouring countries, which are overwhelmed, with many of their own citizens affected; meanwhile, many of the refugees live in very difficult circumstances. More than 11.7m[4] 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, or the civil society organisations that will be needed to ensure a democratic future for the country.

Meanwhile, the situation in Palestine, and particularly in Gaza, continues to go from crisis to crisis.

What we do

The Foundation is deeply concerned about the terrible humanitarian emergency in Syria. Through our partners, we have provided 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. Through our Youth Empowerment Programme, we will continue to work to give these young people their rightful education and the ability to develop their potential as the cornerstone of a future Syria.

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 – both to continue and improve its work, and to strengthen its resilience so it can continue to play its role for Syria and Lebanon.

Most of our work with refugees and people in need due to crisis will therefore be channelled through our Youth Empowerment and Civil Society Programmes. We will make occasional humanitarian relief donations. These are not open to applications.

Further information on the Foundation’s Relief Programme partners can be found in the list to the right of this page.

Photo credit: Sonbola Group for Education & Development

[1] Confronting Fragmentation, Syrian Center for Policy Research, February 2016 (, accessed 24 April 2019).

[2] Includes Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons. UNHCR (, accessed 24 April 2019).

[3] UNHCR, Government of Turkey, 11 April 2019 (, accessed 24 April 2019).

[4] Syrian Arab Republic Humanitarian Needs Overview, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHR), 2019 (, accessed 24 April 2019).