Since the beginning of the conflicts in Syria, WF AID have been actively involved in helping as many of those affected as we can, both in Syria and in Lebanon where there are now 1.2 million Syrian refugees. In the last two years alone, we have funded $2,546,175 in various humanitarian projects in both countries designed to improve the living conditions of not only the Syrian and Palestinian refugees but also disadvantaged Lebanese families.
Our local operations are aimed at:
• improving health and living conditions
• educational support for disadvantaged children
• providing special rehabilitation for students with special needs
• to avail relief provisions to the refugees and disadvantaged people in Lebanon
• the publication of religious books
• holding mass marriage events
• facilitating retreats for disadvantaged children
More than six years after it began, the war in Syria has killed a reported 470,000 people. Bombings have destroyed schools, hospitals and homes. Horrifying human rights violations are widespread and basic necessities like food and medical care are sparse.
The U.N. estimates that 6.3 million people are internally displaced. When you also consider refugees, well over half of the country’s pre-war population of 22 million is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, whether they still remain in the country or have escaped across the borders. Families are struggling to survive inside Syria, or make a new home in neighbouring countries.
Lebanon has more than 1.2 million Syrians and over 400,000 long-term refugees from Palestine now living among a national population of 4 million. The country now has the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world.
EDUCATION AND COUNSELLING SUPPORT:
WF AID works closely with partners on the ground who are pioneers in the field of education. On our recent visit to Lebanon in January 2017, we visited some of the kindergarten and primary school catering for children from all social backgrounds. The primary school opened in 1981 and caters for orphan female students and other students from low-income local families. The school’s mission is to develop the character of the students in all respects; physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and social, through up-to-date curricula aligned with official Lebanese curricula. Qualified teachers are employed and each class has teacher/student ratio 1:15. The Special Education Department, which opened in 1997, offers special education for boys and girls aged between 5 and 12 years’ old who have special educational needs due to mild to moderate learning disabilities and developmental behavioural disorders. The program also seeks to educate the parents on the facts pertaining to the condition of their children. The department employs multiple techniques including occupational therapy, musical therapy, psychological support, speech therapy and physical therapy. This department employs a vast number of qualified teachers and other experts. The teacher/student ratio is 1:5.
There are also educational opportunities for older students. The Nursing School trains female students from the orphanage who are interested in the profession. Since its inception, almost one thousand female nurses have graduated from the institute. This has a positive impact not only on the newly qualified nurses but also to the many people who will benefit from their care.
In 2015 and 2016 The World Federation funded a mental health initiative in an orphanage in South Lebanon. In the years 2015-2016, this project successfully helped 472 students. It also provided benefit to their parents and assisted 189 women in the occupational training sections. You can read a report for this project, which includes more details about the illnesses and cases dealt with, here.
In addition to this, the orphanage also provides care within its constituency. Field workers visited 120 households in 38 locations. Furthermore, the local community was encouraged to participate in several public meetings. These meetings have been identified as crucial in involving the parents in their daughters’ progress, and to empower women when they face complicated situations.
Another strategic intervention was the provision of individual specialised sessions specifically to orphan girls. This included 532 psychotherapeutic sessions benefiting 36 girls, 294 occupational therapeutic sessions benefiting 22 girls and 135 speech therapeutic sessions benefiting 13 girls.
The orphanage also works closely with teachers, experts, physicians and the Ministry of Social Affairs to prepare a Plan of Action for Children with Special Needs. Over 73 students facing various challenges such as learning disabilities, speech disorders, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and cleft palates were helped in their efforts to gain an education. Over 90 sets of parents were educated and trained on how to help their children on a daily basis. This has an incredible long-term effect on the children’s lives and encourages more understanding and knowledge on how people can help. An academic curriculum was also set in place.
All in all, over 2300 orphans and disadvantaged children were given educational support, therapy and counselling.
RAMADAN RELIEF FUND:
During the month of Ramadan, WF AID distributes Ramadan Relief food baskets and Eid gifts to the poorest families in southern Lebanon. Each package contains staple food items that help the beneficiaries create healthy, balanced meals during the holy month of Ramadan. In 2016, 3,500 such food baskets were gifted to deprived families.
Additionally, an Iftar is also arranged every year for 1000 orphans from all over Lebanon in which Eid gifts and clothes are given to the orphan children.
ASSISTANCE TO SYRIAN REFUGEES:
WF AID introduced cash intervention for Syrian families in 2016. The need of the hour was not food baskets or clothes but cash to pay for medicine and fees for children to attend school. Recognising this need, WF AID distributed cash gifts to 1,264 refugee families benefiting a total of 7,548 individuals. “This year we were able to send our children to school instead of making them work for a petty amount.” Jameel, A Syrian Refugee in Lebanon. The cash intervention gave the families the flexibility to meet personal basic needs.
Displaced families need medical care and services to survive. The areas where the refugees are camped lack modern or adequate medical services, and the refugee crisis has strained the health service infrastructure beyond its capacity. We also provide urgent medical aid addressing this serious threat to the refugees and their host families’ health and well-being of the overall community.
After five and a half years of intense conflict, the situation in Syria keeps deteriorating, with ever-increasing needs and continuous suffering. It is estimated that 4.8 million people have fled the country and another 6.5 million people are internally displaced (source: OCHA). This represents nearly 50 percent of the total population.
The World Federation is funding the following projects in Syria:
Children in Syria are now contributing to the family income in more than three-quarters of surveyed households, according to a recent report released by Save the Children and UNICEF. “As families become increasingly desperate, children are working primarily for their survival. Whether in Syria or neighbouring countries,” Roger Hearn, regional Director for Save the Children in the Middle East and Eurasia, said. Children who work were more likely to drop out of school – adding to fears of a “lost generation” of Syrian children, according to the report.
To combat this, WF AID supports war refugees and internally displaced people in Syria either through food packages where possible or by cash in remote areas.
We also encourage the delivery and acquisition of education by supplementing the salaries for teachers in remote areas of Syria so that they continue teaching. In this way, we try to ensure that children’s education is not disrupted.
For the past 2 years, we have been funding a children’s retreat which brings together orphan children and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. These children spend a fun-filled day with activities, games and some educational workshops.
The World Federation Executive Councillor and past Hon. Treasurer Ahmed Daya summarised the work done here: ‘WF AID has, since its existence, been serving Momineen throughout the world. Where there is a need we are trying to be there. It has been a great pleasure working with our reliable and well-recognised partners on the ground and we hope to continue our assistance to humanitarian initiatives in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and so on. We pray to Allah (swt) for a quick resolution to the conflict as the toll on humanity is unimaginable.’
WF AID is extremely grateful to Alhajj Ahmed Daya for his invaluable support in fundraising for the World Federations various humanitarian projects and strengthening our partnerships with other NGOs’ on the ground.
If you would like to donate to this ongoing appeal, you can do so here.