Caring for Syria's children
In September 2015 the Swiss Re Foundation donated CHF 100 000 to Save the Children to support critical education and child protection interventions in Syria.
Since fighting first broke out in Syria in March 2011, the conflict has turned into a large-scale civil war. At the time this donation was made, half of all Syrians had been forced to flee their homes and an estimated 12.2 million were in need of humanitarian assistance. According to UNICEF, more than 5.6 million children remained trapped inside the country, living amid displacement, poverty and crossfire. Children have been and continue to be killed, injured and detained, whilst enduring severe violations of their basic rights, including to the right to education and healthcare.
Before the war, almost all children in Syria were enrolled in school. As the war drags on, ever more of them are being forced to drop out to engage in dangerous labour or join armed groups. In the eight governorates in northern Syria, an estimated 1.7 million of school-age children and youth, or 56% of the total, were out of school as of late 2015. Syria’s economic and social collapse has reversed decades of educational achievement and excluded a whole generation of children and youth from both formal and informal learning opportunities.
Since 2012 Save the Children has been at the forefront of efforts to provide immediate relief, keep children safe and support protective education delivery. With this grant from the Swiss Re Foundation, it established a Child Friendly Space in a camp for internally displaced people inside Syria that provides protection and education activities for children and youth. The space offers both recreational activities and education to the children of 223 families. As well as providing a nurturing and safe environment for youth to access structured play, leisure and learning activities to help restore a sense of normality in their lives, the Child Friendly Space serves as a hub to establish child protection interventions and to improve parents’ and caregivers’ understanding of child and youth development.