An Update from Damascus

When thousands of children and families finally left the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta after enduring years of conflict – we were there.

We met people malnourished from years of deprivation, children who lost their moms and dads, and thousands more with deep emotional and physical wounds.

Providing refuge to these disoriented and fearful families was our first priority. Our first response was to organize a large transition shelter to host more than 12,000 people.

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Resolute Women are the Future

What is the role of women in conflict?

Hundreds of thousands of young men in Syria have died or have been forced to flee to avoid being drafted into a war they do not want to fight. Young women have stepped into the void and now make up over half of our team in Syria.

They're distributing clean water, rebuilding shelters, educating children, and growing into a force for peace. Young women are redefining what it means to be female on the front lines of war.

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A Plumber's Toolkit

Abu Munir lost a son in a bombing, and then lost his livelihood when he fled his home. He was forced to move into a single room with his wife and four surviving children. When they needed a bathroom or a kitchen, they relied on the kindness of their neighbors.

When our staff first met Abu Munir, he was still reeling from the death of his son. He cried more than he spoke, but eventually he opened up. He told us he had been a plumber before he was displaced.

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Ghada

One of the accomplishments you can be most proud of supporting is the 30,000 women who are currently active in therapy groups organized by our Syria team in communities and shelters throughout the country.

Among those efforts is Hear My Heart, a therapy space for women to support one another that is led by trained facilitators. It is also a way for our staff to understand women's needs and worries so we can better serve them and their families.

Hear My Heart helps women and girls like 15-year-old Ghada, who fled Aleppo with her family more than two years...MORE

Sandra

When Sandra first arrived in Damascus two years ago, she barely spoke.

Sandra's parents are both missing. It was her grandmother who brought Sandra and her five siblings to Damascus, to escape fighting near the city of Homs.

When Sandra began attending programs at one of Questscope's shelters, staff there noticed her condition.

"Her grandmother explained to us that she suffered from a speech impediment, and her situation had deteriorated since her parents went missing because she did not receive the required care," one of our staff members at the shelter...MORE

The Berlin Pilot Program

Refugees from Syria are seeking haven all over the world. Germany has taken in more than 300,000. Many are teens who came on their own. They have lost nearly everything that matters to them. Still they are eager to integrate.

They need help navigating a foreign land. They need help learning the language and finding a place to belong. To assist them, Questscope is launching a new pilot program in Berlin.

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Finding Home

The war in Syria is now in its seventh year. Legions of people have had to flee in order to survive. Thousands of families have been forced to leave behind everything they’ve known.

They've lost the houses and neighborhoods they called home. More devastating, they've lost the people and communities they also called home. Those who survive find themselves caught in a cycle of unrest and uncertainty. 69% of Syrians inside Syria are living in extreme poverty. 

We're working every day to help those displaced by violence and persecution...MORE

The Aqaba Project

You might remember Manal. We introduced you to her last summer. She survived a hellish journey from Syria and narrowly missed being sold into early marriage – and an equally bleak future.

Manal is from Aleppo, Syria. Her dad died a few years ago, and her mom became solely responsible for their family. When it became too dangerous to stay in Aleppo, they left with only the clothes on their back. Now they're living as refugees in Aqaba, Jordan.

There are no jobs...MORE

The Big Girl Who Can't Read

Rahaf fled Aleppo with her family when missiles started crashing into their neighborhood.

They now share space with others in a communal shelter near Aleppo. Crowded, chaotic, crammed together.

She attends a temporary school there. Due to a learning disability, she is older than the grade level she is in. For other students, she is “the big girl who can’t read.”  It was very hard for 14-year old Rahaf when others made fun of her.  

Making friends was very hard, too. Teen girls, especially in the...MORE

Finding Refuge at Midnight

Last week – just after midnight – 1,500 people finally found refuge after surviving more than two years of siege. 

They traveled for days in crowded buses after they left their besieged villages. They survived a suicide bombing attack. And they arrived at our collective shelters in the middle of the night - women and children - physically and emotionally exhausted. They kept moving in hope they would find safety at the end of that journey.  

And when they arrived, our Syria team was there – ready and able to provide shelter and assistance.

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