Thanks to the European Union, we support families who are unable to provide their children with essential goods such as food and water, clothes and school supplies



INTERSOS is operating in Syria since 2019, providing comprehensive humanitarian relief to the most vulnerable communities affected by the conflict. Between November 2021 and March 2023, thanks to the support of the European Union, INTERSOS, in partnership with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), provided protection services to over 40,000 individuals across the communities of Kernaz, Suruj, Beit Sawa, Zamalka, and Modaira in the governorates of Rural Damascus and Hama.


After 12 years of conflict, displacement and economic crises, thousands of civilian infrastructures across the country are completely or partially damaged. Access to essential services, such as Health and Education, is largely limited or completely lacking. Vulnerable families struggle to meet their most basic needs, like food and water. For those residing outside the cities, in rural areas, the situation is even worse as job opportunities are shrinking in a stagnating economy. This has pushed many families to extreme vulnerability and the adoption of harmful coping mechanisms, where children and women are especially exposed to protection risks. The most common protection concerns affecting children include emotional abuse, neglect and psycho-social distress, which are exacerbated by extreme poverty, being out of school or being at risk of dropping out from formal education. In the communities targeted by INTERSOS, 2 girls out of three and 1 boy of out three suffered from emotional abuse. Boys and girls equally show signs of psycho-social distress such as aggressive behavior, sadness, fear and isolation. A high number of children show these signs as a result of bullying among peers and violence (physical and emotional) at school and within the household. Children with disabilities are particularly exposed to child protection risks and several of them are out of school or at risk of dropping out.


How we support children at risk


INTERSOS, through its protection response program funded by the European Union, supported boys and girls through group and individual psycho-social support aimed at building confidence, overcoming trauma and enhancing their overall psycho-social well-being. Ahmed is an 8-year-old boy who lives with his family in Al-Shiha (rural Hama), from where they were displaced due to fighting in 2014 and returned 7 years later. They lost almost everything during the displacement, and the family is now facing extreme poverty. Ahmed suffers from atrophy in his hand since birth. Because of that, he is bullied and emotionally abused most of the time at school and in the neighborhood. Such abuses and past trauma affected his mental and physical well-being, causing difficulties to eat, lack of self-confidence, shyness, bad communication and difficult relation with peers and family. Ahmed was obtaining good grades at school; however, he was afraid to participate in classroom discussions. His mother took him to participate in INTERSOS activities implemented in the village and slowly the protection team convinced him to participate in the psycho-social support group resilience program. At the same time, individual case management services were provided to his mother to release the psychological pressure she was exposed to because of excessive fear for her son, to promote her capacities to deal with her child and to be able to encourage and support him to increase his self-confidence. At the beginning, Ahmed was always quiet during the sessions, shy and not often sharing his opinions, but time after time he started showing some interest in participating and engaging with the group, and started to show more self-confidence and the courage to express himself.


His mother was happy and mentioned that there was a noticeable change in his behavior at home, in his overall well-being, and in his relationship with his friends and family, especially with his brothers. Also, she expressed that she felt much better after the individual counseling she received, which helped her in supporting her child. “My child is now eating well and playing with his brothers and friends like any other child. I have not seen my child so happy and relaxed to this degree”, she said. In the light of the extreme poverty conditions faced by the family and to motivate Ahmed to continue studying he was provided with warm clothes to go to school and with an education kit. Like Ahmed, INTERSOS supported more than 30,000 boys and girls in Syria with recreational activities, through group psycho-social support and individual case management, proving the most vulnerable children with education kits, hygiene kits, clothes, and assistive devices and promoting their overall well-being and their right to be a child.