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Creating alternative futures: educating Syrian adolescents

We recognise that returning to school can provide the only flicker of normality for many children in countries engulfed in crises.

Christian Aid is working together with our partner in Syria to improve the skills, resilience and social inclusion of children and young people through education, psychosocial support, community involvement and peace-building dialogues.

The Syrian conflict, which began in March 2011, has triggered the biggest displacement crisis of this century. Over 6 million Syrians are internally displaced, and at least another 5 million have fled across national borders as refugees. As government troops, armed opposition groups, and international forces battle for power and territory, the lives and wellbeing of women, men and children are threatened. Children and young people are particularly at risk of becoming a lost generation, with limited or no education and employment opportunities, and struggling with severe trauma caused by conflict. 

Infographic showing impact of Syrian confilict

Before the war, almost all of Syria’s children were enrolled in primary school, but today the country's school enrolment rates are among the lowest in the world. Young people are also disproportionately affected by catastrophic unemployment rates, which are at 90% in some areas, compounding the trauma, isolation and poverty they are experiencing. 

Together with our local partner in Syria, our project seeks to ensure young people affected by conflict can access education and training to help transform their lives, reduce their vulnerability to joining armed groups, and support peaceful, cohesive communities. 

We will provide over 8,675 adolescents and young people in Syria with education, psychological support, vocational training, and opportunities to design and take part in community initiatives. 

Key information 

Location 

Through our local partner, we will work in four towns in northern Syria. 

Timescale 

The project will be delivered over three years.  

Programme value 

4,976,150 Euros

Target population 

 8,675 young people aged 15-25 years in opposition held areas in northern Syria. 

Funded by 

the European Union 

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Our approach

Our local partner staff are part of the communities where we will be working, and are deeply aware of the issues faced by young people. We will be working closely with them to provide technical expertise to respond to the needs of the people we are supporting and to ensure that we can offer them a chance to complete their education and gain life skills that they can use in the long-term.  

Importantly, we are not just offering conventional education to young people, we are also offering hands on training and an opportunity to be directly involved in their communities. We believe this approach will empower young people, whose childhoods and teenage years have been marked by intense violence and a sense of powerlessness.   

Key activities will include: 

Rehabilitation and upgrading of schools, colleges and youth clubs which have been damaged in the conflict. This work will also provide income generation opportunities for 90 young men who will gain experience on basic construction skills, enhancing their future employability. 

Remedial secondary school education and literacy courses in line with the national curriculum. 

Vocational training in nursing and midwifery for young people to support youth employment whilst also addressing the chronic shortage of nurses. 

Access to formal educational qualifications through scholarships with online education providers. 

Psychosocial support through youth-friendly spaces, sports activities and referral mechanisms, enhancing community engagement and giving young people a voice and tools to solve problems. 

Opportunities for young people to volunteer in disaster response, first aid and community services, and to form their own local disaster response committees increasing the capacity to respond to emergencies such as aerial bombardments. 

Find out more: Christian Aid in Syria