Vienna, June 20 2022. On the occasion of World Refugee Day, CARE draws attention to the more than 12 million Syrians who have had to leave their homes and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Half of them are children, many of whom know nothing but a life in camps. Eleven-year-old Amra is one of them. She was born in 2011, the year the war in Syria began, and has spent her entire life in a crisis zone.
The family was happy until an airstrike destroyed their home and injured Amra’s father. After six moves and a decade without a place to call home, the family moved to a camp for displaced persons in North West Syria. Instead of going to school, playing, and feeling safe like her peers, Amra now lives in a tent. „When it rains, I’m afraid it will wash away our tent. In the winter, it’s bitterly cold and I’m afraid the gas stove will burn down the tent. We used to have a nice house,“ Amra says.
“More than 11 years of conflict in Syria, with blatant International Humanitarian Law violations and a devastating impact on communities, forced 6.9 million Syrians into internal displacement and 5.6 million to flee abroad to find a safe haven. Very sadly, the Syrian refugee population, of which 50% are children, continues to be the largest globally. Inside Syria, almost two-thirds of the population are expected to face food shortages in 2022,” says Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis Management. “With partners like CARE, we continue to provide Syrians in the country and the region with much needed humanitarian assistance. So that children can go back to school, parents can provide for their family and communities, often in dire living conditions, have access to basic services.”
97 percent of the population live on less than two dollars a day
People struggle with many challenges such as lack of water supply. „The water tanks are far away, and we have to fetch water every day. My hands hurt from carrying the water bottles,“ Amra says. This is where CARE, with the support of the European Union and local partner organizations, operating in the North West of Syria, comes in with a project to provide Syrians like Amra with access to clean water and sanitation.
“We are supporting women as they shoulder more responsibilities around the house and in the community. Women and girls are taking on more laborious tasks such as carrying water over long distances between the communal water tank in the camp and their tents. Thanks to funds from the EU, CARE and our implementing partners are ensuring vulnerable populations in northwest Syria have access to clean water as part of an overall objective to respond to emergency needs and protection concerns of the most vulnerable populations in Syria, especially women and girls,”says Sherine Ibrahim, CARE Turkey Country Director.
Protection and training in CARE project
In Women and Girls Safe Spaces, the project participants are not only informed about their rights but also receive psychosocial support. In addition, there are various workshops to develop skills for a professional future. Sports and creative activities are offered for children and young people as well.
„I like being at CARE’s protection center. It feels like my former home,“ says Amra, who lost some of her friends to the war. „I feel sad when I think about my friends who died. But at the shelter, I feel safe. We play soccer and hide-and-seek. I have been able to make many friends through this.“
“Our response aims to enable most at risk women, men, girls and boys accessing to critical protection services such as protection-related information, case management, psychosocial support and individual protection assistance. We also provide life skills sessions, recreational activities and skills building activities in Women and Girls Safe Spaces where we train and support members of local initiatives and community groups to actively engage in protection awareness campaigns and community dialogues,” says Hussein Araban, CARE Turkey Assistant Country Director – Cross Border.
The project is funded by the European Union and implemented together with local partner organizations until the end of September 2022, benefitting more than 423,000 displaced people.
About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid
The European Union and its Member States are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.
Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department, the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.
Founded in 1945, CARE International is today one of the largest private aid organizations in the global fight against poverty. In Austria, the organization is known for the CARE packages® sent in the post-war period. In 2021, CARE’s work benefited more than 100 million people in 102 countries, with a focus on empowering women and girls. CARE Austria was founded in 1986 as the eighth member of CARE International. care.at