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Empowering Syrian Children: Project Amal ou Salam

Organized by: mcwares projects

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THE STORY:

What is Amal ou Salam? Project Amal ou Salam, meaning Project Hope and Peace in Arabic, is a non-political grassroots organization that works with Syrian refugee children in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon as well as children in Syria to empower the future leaders of Syria through education, intervention and trauma-based care. We developed an innovative educational approach that seeks to empower the future leaders of Syria. The core tenets of the approach include working to ensure that every child has the right to an education, a childhood free from trauma and violence, and the hope of a peaceful tomorrow. Project Amal ou Salam has a successful track record of delivering this approach in week-long workshops in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan with volunteers from around the world, in the school that it funds in Jordan and in its community center in Syria. Our Origins While visiting an IDP camp in Syria in 2013, Co-Founders Nousha Kabawat and Aziz Abu Sarah were struck by the bored children mirroring the anger, violence and sectarianism around them and began to imagine a grassroots effort to feed the children’s self-esteem and character. With a background in conflict resolution and peacebuilding in post-war societies, Nousha worked to turn her dream of a multicultural, interfaith community into a reality called Project Amal ou Salam. Free from politics and sectarian dogma, Project Amal ou Salam operates across Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria – few NGOs for Syrian refugee children founded in the past few years are working across borders. According to the UNHCR, to date there are over 3 million registered Syrian refugees, of which more than half are under the age of 17. Since the revolution began in 2011, these children have been forced from their homes and country and have been unable to access basic needs or education. In 2016, children who are five years old - or entering school - have always had a life of war and conflict. Our Impact Through our workshops, school and community center, Project Amal ou Salam has supported over 6,000 children in four different countries, aided by more than 100 volunteers from around the world. Project Amal ou Salam Workshops – Jordan and Lebanon Project Amal ou Salam’s workshops provide open dialogue, giving the kids a safe space to tackle the issues that they face and develop their own ideas and visions for the future of Syria. With activities not present in the refugee camps, our workshops for Syrian refugee children arm them with the tools and confidence to rebuild Syria through art, health, photography, sports and music. Project Amal ou Salam School – Jarash, Jordan In Jordan, we have an Amal ou Salam school that plays an important role by filling a gap in the education system: Syrian children are not allowed to enroll in Jordanian schools until they are able to pass tests at their appropriate grade level. Before the war, nearly all Syrian children were enrolled in school. Today most Syrian children who are living as refugees in Jordan have been out of school for several years and need significant catch-up time and individualized attention to make up for the hundreds of hours of class time they have missed out on. The Amal ou Salam school prepares students to pass tests that will allow them to enter the Jordanian school system and ensures that they can perform as well as their Jordanian peers in their new classrooms. Beit Amal ou Salam – Aleppo, Syria Opened January 1, 2016, our new underground kids community center "The Project Amal ou Salam House" hosts approximately 60 kids every week to learn writing, reading, and math; enjoy lots of arts and music; watch movies and just have a ton of fun! The center was built underground to create a safe environment as far away from the war happening above ground as possible. To ensure that the atmosphere is also fun and inviting for children, there are disco lights, a music system, a large screen for showing movies, and stuffed animals in every corner and angle in the room. Other Activities In addition to activities run by Project Amal ou Salam, we have provided material donations (e.g., coloring books, games, sports equipment) and monetary support to schools both within and outside of Syria (Turkey and Lebanon). Additionally, we have supported activities in Idlib, Syria; sent school and art supplies to a refugee camp in Ersal, Lebanon; hosted a football tournament for hundreds of Syrian kids as well as hosted a Ramadan meal for 60 Syrian children and their families in Jordan; and hosted Eid celebrations in Suroui, Turkey for Kurdish refugees who had recently arrived from Kobani, Syria. Spreading the Word We are always honored when Project Amal ou Salam is featured in the media because it is a great opportunity for more people to learn about the work that we do. Here are some of our favorite features: BBC, Syria’s Next Generation, http://goo.gl/SvIGA0 Elle Magazine, Young, Syrian, Female: This Is How you Fight ISIS's Values http://goo.gl/SFeJth Huffington Post, 6 Organizations Helping Syrian Refugees That You Might Not Have Heard Of, http://goo.gl/Cn1Mwe National Geographic, Life Through the Lens of Syria’s Uprooted Teens, http://goo.gl/lWktpO When speaking on a panel at the UN's Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security, Nousha summarized the issue well when she said: "Syria has become a complex issue but please don't think it is only about violence and killing. Think about the children who need love, attention and caring from everyone around the world so that they become the future generation, not a lost generation." Impact – Why Your Support is Critical Providing a safe space for the psycho-social development of Syria’s children is both crucial for the rebuilding and reconciliation processes and the future of Syrian society, and is more sustainable than direct aid. When PTSD and depression are not treated in children, they result in flashbacks, emotional instability, violent and aggressive behavior, nightmares, isolation and poor academic achievement. Helping the next generation cope with the trauma and tragedy of war will aid them in becoming strong, capable, and productive members of society ready to rebuild their country! Your donation will go directly towards expanding, building and developing the implementation of Project Amal ou Salam. More specifically, your donation will fund: The volunteer-run workshops in March 2016 in Jordan for more than 1000 children, aided by 30 volunteers from all around the world The Amal ou Salam School in Jarash, Jordan Beit Amal ou Salam, the newly launched community center in Aleppo, Syria If you are in the U.S. and would like to make a tax-deductible donation, please make your check out to GreaterGood.org and write “Project Amal ou Salam #65981″ in the memo line. Mail checks to 6262 N Swan Road, Suite 150, Tucson, AZ 85718. You can also make a tax-deductible donation online. Thank you for your donation! Keep Spreading the Love

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