As the Syria conflict enters its fifth year this month, nearly 4 million people have fled the country into the neighboring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, according to the Failing Syria report, released by 21 humanitarian and human rights organizations this March. As international aid finds it ever more challenging to support these communities, there are some initiatives that do not involve donations to offer concrete help to those in need.
1. With Karam Foundation you can go to Turkey to volunteer at three winter and summer camps. The organisation runs varied programs such as Zeituna, which focuses on the psycho-social needs of refugee students through therapy and physical wellness activities. By filling the form on their website, volunteers can indicate how they would like to help and participate in their initiatives.
2. With NuDay you can help collect clothes and gifts in kind, which they ship regularly to Syria. The 40-feet-long containers include clothes, bedding, hospital and medical items, food, and hygiene products. The organization has a drop off location in the US (9 Edwards Lane, Quincy MA), where people can send boxes of items or checks for expenses, leaving it inside their garage or by mail. You can also volunteer to help sort and pack the clothes.
3. If you’re a doctor you can offer your medical services as a volunteer with SAMS. This initiative is part of a collaborative project with other relief organizations. The goal is to establish medical facilities with fully-equipped operating rooms in the borders areas of Syria near Turkey and Jordan. SAMS helps provide the medical experts to volunteer in these facilities. Volunteers will participate in a 1-2 week mission.
4. If you’re an Arabic/English speaker, you can help Dubarah with translations. The network is the first in its kind to merge Syrians relocating in new countries with the communities of Syrian expats that have spent longer times in these countries. The network also collects work vacancies, scholarships and educational opportunities, and a guide that explains the lifestyle and living conditions in 52 countries.
5. If you are a student in the USA, you can join Students Organize for Syria (SOS) and organize awareness raising or fundraising activities. SOS is a movement that comprises students from campuses across the United States working together to shed light on the situation in Syria and to provide humanitarian relief. You can either join their existing chapters or create a new chapter, where awareness weeks, film screenings and other events are held.