We recognise that returning to school can provide the only flicker of normality for many children facing crises.
The Syrian conflict began in March 2011. There are some 6.7 million Syrians internally displaced, including 2.5 million children, and a further 6.6 million have fled across national borders as refugees, mostly in countries near Syria. As government troops, armed opposition groups, and international forces battle for power and territory, the lives and wellbeing of women, men and children continue to be 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.
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, compounding the trauma, isolation and poverty they are experiencing.
With funding from the European Union, together with our local partner in Syria, Christian Aid implemented a 4.5 year education and resilience project to address these challenges. The project sought 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.
Between October 2017 and March 2022 we provided 27,804 – mostly young people aged 12-35 years – in northwest Syria with education, psychological support, vocational training, including specialised nursing courses, first response training, awareness raising and opportunities to design and take part in community initiatives.
Following the closure of this European Union funding, Christian Aid is continuing to support this area of work and the community centres.
With our local partner, we worked in four towns in northwest Syria
From 25 October 2017 – 24 March 2022 (4.5 years)
27,804 people, of these 50.4% were women
The European Union, Christian Aid supporters, and private Trusts & Foundations
Key activities and outcomes
Four community centres were established in northwest Syria, where:
- 4,656 young people (age 12-26) attended remedial education courses in Arabic, Maths, Physics, English. Of these, 78% passed the end of course exams in the centres. These courses allowed many students to catch up on their studies, re-integrate into schooling, or pass their formal exams.
- 5,806 young people (age 18-30) attended short-term vocational training in M&E, Project Management, Engsh, Computer Studies and accounting.
- Of these, 207 young people went on to complete internships, with stipends, in the community centres. At least 121 students found formal job opportunities following involvement in vocational training, while others went on to pursue university or further training.
- 2,365 young people received psychosocial support – either through a 3-month life skills programme or non-specialised individual and group counselling from trained social workers.
Outside of the community centres:
- 104 students were trained in and graduated with specialised nursing diplomas in Surgical Assistant, Neonatal ICU, Adult Critical Care and Dialysis. These supported employment whilst also addressing the chronic shortage of nurses.
- 222 students were provided with university scholarships, supporting their access to formal educational qualifications.
- 210 young people received basic and advanced first response training. Following this, 7 volunteer first response committees were formed and have been active in their communities.
- Awareness raising in centres but also in IDP camps around the project locations in Child Protection, GBV and COVID-19.
- 25 partner staff members received Duty of Care support following their displacement during the military offensive on NW Syria between December 2019 and March 2020.