Actively supporting Syrian refugees: A Syrian’s Lens

An amazing friend asked me yesterday how she could contribute to the Syrian refugees crisis, as she was watching the debate regarding this topic rising but not sure how to be part of the action. Thus, knowing that many friends would love to help within their capacity but aren’t sure who to trust, I am sharing my answer with my Facebook friends.

But before I start listing some NGOs to which you can donate I just wanted to point out 3 things:

1. Educating yourself on the current crisis, rejecting stereotypes, getting to know Syrians/refugees, and sharing these information with your networks is in itself, a great contribution.
2. No contribution, Whatsoever, is too small. $1=+300 Syrian Pounds= bread for a whole family for a day. It’s more helpful than you think.
3. Although it’s extremely helpful, contributions don’t have to be monetary. Showing solidarity with refugees through social media and to your local politicians/ representatives makes a big difference.

*Feel free to share with your networks, and thank you in advance for wanting to help.
(Your donations counts towards your tax deductions in the U.S.)
Here are the three main channels to which you could directly contribute:

1- Education:
You can contribute towards educating young Syrian refugee who should be in school but aren’t due to war. Nearly 3 Million Syrian children should be in school but aren’t, creating one of the biggest threats to the future of the country. Luckily, many NGOs are working to do something about this, one of them is Jusoor – Syrians Forward Together (جسور سوريا) (Arabic for Bridges) running elementary schools in Lebanon for thousands of refugees to enroll and prepare to join Lebanese and International schools.
Donate here: http://jusoorsyria.com/donation/ (Donations to Jusoor are tax exempt)
Read about them here: http://jusoorsyria.com/
You can also consider Karam Foundation, an amazing non-for-profit organization helping educating and empowering Syrian youth to build their own future. Read more or donate here: http://www.karamfoundation.org/

2- Urgent Humanitarian aid:
Winter is fast approaching and the refugee camps are far from prepared to shelter the hundreds of thousands families. The best way to help is through the local NGOs like We Care About Syria athttps://www.facebook.com/WeCareAboutSyria/… or NuDay which can be discovered here: http://www.nudaysyria.net/
(Updated) Other organizations like the UN and Save the Children are also trustworthy but unfortunately deduct up to 20% overhead from donations.
UNHCR (United Nations refugee agency) here:http://donate.unhcr.org/international/syria
Or donate here for tax exempt donations: https://donate.unrefugees.org/ea-action/action…
Save the Children is also working on protecting and sheltering the Syrian refugee children in an attempt to isolate them from the current crisis and provide them with safe environment. It’s better to hear from them about their work and donate if you wish to choose them here:http://www.savethechildren.org/…/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.7998857/…
International Rescue Committee is another great contributor providing health care and shelter to refugees, read more about them and donate here: http://www.rescue.org/crisis-syria (Donations are tax exempt)
UNICEF helps children victims of violence by providing healthcare and shelter. Unicef is an international trust-worthy NGO, you can read more about their work and donate here: https://www.unicefusa.org/donate/help-syrian-children/16078 (Donations are tax exempt)

3- Women empowerment:
Why is this even important in such a critical time for the country? Handmade crafts, and skills that women can make a living of, can change the lives of Syrian women in refugee camps having to support their families with no alternative income sources. بسمة وزيتونة – Basmeh & Zeitooneh is one of the best Syrian NGOs working on this topic. Having worked with them, I couldn’t recommend them more. While working in Shatila’s refugee camp, they engage in almost every aspect of a refugee’s life making it a little better everyday.
You can donate here after reading about their work on their page :https://www.facebook.com/basmehzeitooneh/?sk=app_11539044547

— There are hundreds if not thousands of local and international NGOs working everyday inside and outside Syria to help restore what the war has destroyed. I am obviously not aware of every single one of them, but have shared some which I have either volunteered with, or followed close enough to trust and ask you to trust them with your contributions.

Majed Abdulsamad

College of Architecture

Illinois Institute of Technology

Anticipated Bachelor’s Degree: December 2015

 

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