Syria is in the news a lot these days. And it's a place where I've spent a lot of time. It was a country of artists, engineers, teachers, people who had dreams and plans. Their children played under the shade of old trees along the edges of streets and their young people gathered in dozens of brightly-lit internet coffee shops at night. Before fighting broke out in 2011, Syria's population was 22 million.
Today, half those Syrians have been forced to flee their homes. 7.6 million are now displaced within Syria and 4 million have become refugees in neighboring countries like Jordan. Resources that were always stretched thin have now run out and Syrians are being pushed to the last edge.
Questscope is a community of people committed to the lives of vulnerable youth and communities. We have spent more than 25 years working inside Jordan and Syria - in the very places where people hurt the most right now. We believe that within every human lies an innate thirst for hope, for life with dignity, and for connecting to community. The response to that deeper need makes resilience and reaching towards a future possible. BUT, in the past months things have radically changed.
The foundations of life have been shattered for Syrians. So they build again. And we start with what they need right now. We ask. We listen. And what they are telling us today is that they need food, water, and shelter. They do not want to watch their children die.
More than 6 million people inside Syria need emergency food assistance right now. For 90% of the refugees in Jordan who live outside camps, the World Food Program cut off all food support two weeks ago. We are watching people we have worked alongside for years face slow starvation.
When we are faced with a crisis of this magnitude, we do what we've always done - we innovate and adjust so we can continue putting the last, first. In emergencies, Questscope is set up to provide critical aid alongside our long-term alternative education and mentoring programs. We can move quickly to provide critical assistance to those who desperately need it.
In the current crisis inside Syria, Questscope provides critical aid for food, shelter, and water for thousands of internally displaced persons.
Inside Jordan, we continue to grow our mentoring and alternative education programs in Za'atari Refugee Camp and in 60 community sites across the country.
The political landscape might seem complicated, but helping is simple. Helping is what Questscope does.
Founder and International Director, Questscope