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Donate to our Urgent Idlib Appeal

raising money for vital health services in north-western Syria.

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The Hands Up Foundation is a young and innovative charity which was set up by four British friends. Inspired by our time in Damascus, we want to remind our friends in Syria that they have not been forgotten. For us, ‘Syria’ is the noise, colour and scent of spice souks, the birthplace of modern civilisation and the definition of hospitality. The idea behind everything Hands Up does is simple and positive; gather people together, remind them of Syria’s rich culture and do something good. Hands Up is registered in England and Wales and raises money and awareness through creative fundraising initiatives, including the Syrian Supper Club, MarmalAid and Singing for Syrians.

Hands Up is run by the Team in Clerkenwell and governed by its Board of Trustees.

Refugee children in northern Syria raising their hands!

What We Do

Hands Up raises money for projects implemented on the ground by partner organisations. Where possible these projects are inside Syria and run by Syrians. Sustainability forms the basis of all the projects we choose, which is why we focus on funding salaries and long-term work in health and education. All projects we fund are monitored regularly and designed to have the maximum impact for those in need.

We have witnessed first-hand the positive effect of direct aid in Syria and we hope that the Syrians we support will contribute to rebuilding and making their country, once again, a place where people can live in peace.


It is so easy to feel helpless in the face of Syria’s increasingly brutal and long-lasting conflict, but we all have the power to do something. Making sure that people are positively motivated to donate and able to wave the fundraising flag themselves is what our fundraising is all about.

Syrian Supper Club
Raising money for Syria one supper at a time

The Syrian Supper Club is where we started in 2012. Since then we have held over 150 suppers, fed more than 3,000 people, and rolled a whole heap of falafel. Other Syrian Suppers pop up regularly around the world. We use a simple yet powerful formula; by sharing food and using a little entertainment people are united behind a common cause. If you’re interested in holding or coming to a Syrian Supper, click here.

Singing for Syrians

Singing for Syrians encourages individuals, bands, choirs, schools and churches across the UK to raise the roof and as much money as possible by holding a singing event as part of a wider initiative. In 2016 we held more than 80 events raising over £140,000. If you would like to hold your own event or attend one locally, click here.

MarmalAid – inspired by Syria’s bitter oranges

MarmalAid is inspired by Syria’s own bitter oranges, and their trees which grow in the old city of Damascus. Since 2014, we have been making marmalade with a Syrian twist with all profits donated to the aid projects we support in and around Syria.

In November 2017 we launched a new organic Seville orange and cardamom marmalade with Abel and Cole which can be bought on their website here.

We can also supply large volumes for favours at weddings, parties and gala dinners; these are sold in two sizes including the 2oz mini jars. If you'd like to place a large order, please email

وأشجارِ نارنجٍ كأن ثمارَها ... حِقاقُ عقيقٍ قد مُلِئنَ من الدُر ِمطالعُها بين الغصونِ كأنها ... خدودُ العذارى في ملاحفِها الخُضر أَتَتْ كلَّ مشتاقٍ بِرَيّا حبيبِهِ ... فهاجَت له الأحزانَ من حيثُ لاَ يَدري

Present programs

The needs of people affected by the crisis in Syria are vast. For Hands Up, it is important to try and answer the demands as they arise but equally to offer consistent and sustainable funding to those who can work, support families and provide vital medical, health and education services to their communities, often in areas where the health and education systems have almost completely deteriorated.

This year, amongst others, we are supporting three projects that we are very proud of.

You can view and download a flyer of our projects here.

Medical Salaries in north-west Syria - £150,000

The need for medical aid in Syria is huge, especially for the 15 million civilians still in the country. Hands Up, in partnership with SAMS (Syrian American Medical Society), supports a primary health clinic serving the district of southern Aleppo. Over the course of a year we are funding the salaries of 22 staff, including a GP, a paediatrician, a midwife, nurses and guards. Between March and December 2017, these staff carried out 44,000 consultations, 18,000 of which were for children.

Hands Up receives monthly timesheets and pay-slips, amongst other reporting, to ensure that funding is delivered appropriately.

Prosthetic Limbs on the Syrian Turkish border - £80,000

We have supported the National Syrian Project for Prosthetic Limbs (in partnership with Syria Relief) for the last three years. This year we are funding clinic in Bab al Hawa, which is expanding in 2018 to provide better quality prosthetics and to double the number produced to 190 per month. Our funding pays for costs including staff salaries, materials and rent as well as patient treatment. The average cost of a limb from 2018 is £500 and this programme is designed to get patients back on their feet, back to work, or simply able to move around with more ease, pride and dignity. The limbs are issued to patients free of charge and treatment includes rehabilitation.

Education in northern rural Homs - £86,000

Syrian children under six have only ever known a country with a civil war, those older may or may not have been lucky enough to go to school. We’re partnering with Emissa to fund the materials, supplies and meals for three schools, attended by over 900 children for an academic year. Funding for this area of Homs countryside has been limited as it is no longer an “emergency education setting” for many aid organisations. Like many besieged areas of Syria, the residents are now settled rather than newly-arrived internally displaced people, which makes the need for continuing to provide education services all the more pressing.


We continue to support the work of Syria Relief and Shafak, two of our long-term partners. We will be working with them on further projects in 2018.

For those who are interested, there is always further information available on our projects, although we will only ever give out details that do not jeopardize the safety of our beneficiaries and partners. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.

Past programs

We work with several organizations in Turkey, Jordan and Syria, supporting projects providing maternal healthcare and medical equipment, paying local doctors’ salaries, delivering food baskets and providing prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation.

Organizations we have worked with include:

  • Médecins sans Frontières (MSF)
  • The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)
  • Syria Relief
  • Syrian American Medical Society
  • Shafak
  • National Syrian Project for Prosthetic Limbs

As the crisis continues it is more important than ever that we continue to provide support and we can’t do this without your help.

Upcoming Events

7th March Syrian Supper Club at E5 Bakehouse
4th April Syrian Supper Club at E5 Bakehouse
19th May Come and Sing: Mozart's Requiem