SOS Children's Village Damascus
Since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in conflict. Thousands of people have lost their lives, and approximately 11.7 million are displaced; they have fled to other parts of the country or abroad.
Because of these challenges, in 2023, 15.3 million people will require humanitarian assistance.
SOS Children’s Villages in Damascus has been supporting vulnerable families and children since 1981.
Families are struggling to survive
SOS Children's Village Damascus is keeping children who have lost their parents safe (photo: A. Pamuk). .
Syria’s capital city of Damascus, which had a population of roughly 1.8 million before the war started, is located in the south of the country. Although Damascus has been one of the safer Syrian cities, there have been repeated reports of shootings, bombings, deaths and injuries.
The tense security situation has affected the lives of all Syrians since the conflict started. Families in some areas of the city find it increasingly hard to find food – prices have risen sharply - and clean drinking water.
The Syrian health care system has practically collapsed. More than half of Syria's hospitals have been destroyed or badly damaged: medical help and medicines are in very short supply. Around 30 per cent of schools are no longer in operation and, in spite of temporary schools and classes, around one third of school-aged Syrian children are not receiving an education.
On February 6 2023, Syria was hit by a devastating earthquake. Thousands of families and children in affected cities lost their homes. Many children have lost one of their parents with no place to live.
Vulnerable children need support and protection
Syrian children are in urgent need of support. Due to the ongoing conflict, SOS Children's Villages is carefully monitoring the situation in order to ensure the safety of children and families in our care.
Due to the fighting, in 2012 we evacuated SOS Children's Village Aleppo. The families moved to the SOS Children's Village in the Qodsaya district of Damascus.
In 2017, due to the high number of children who had lost parental care, more SOS families were formed. They live in Saboura, in southwest Damascus which is considered to be one of the safest areas of the country.
What we do in Damascus
We support familes who are struggling to survive amid the fighting (photo: A. Pamuk)
Care in SOS families: SOS families care for children in Damascus. We care for over 300 children who have either lost parental care or are waiting to rejoin their biological families. Brothers and sisters grow up together in the care of an SOS parent. The SOS families from Aleppo and Damascus, have stayed together during the war and moved to safer areas wherever necessary.
Small group homes in Sahnaya and Saboura areas have more than 50 children. SOS-Syria's Village's team worked with the programme development team to evaluate children's admission and reunification criteria. Moreover, the number of children in each alternative family was reassessed to develop new measures and standards to provide children and youth with quality alternative care services.
During 2021, the project team at SGHs for children and youth with special care needs have worked on improving the facility to ensure the implementation of the safety standards to protect the children, youth and caregivers. The major improvements focused on installing a metal grid for the windows in addition to a safety fence for the swimming pool and the balconies. To ensure the integration and capacity building of children with special needs, the children attend classes and workshops five days a week at a private specialized association.
Support for young people: SOS Children's Villages supports young people while they continue their studies, do further training or look for a job.
Strengthen families: SOS Children's Villages aims to strengthen local families by offering access to essential education, nutritional and health services. We support families at risk and enable children to grow up within a caring family environment.