Raising funds and awareness

for those affected by the crisis in Syria


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

In 2014 we launched a new social enterprise, inspired by Syria’s bitter oranges; we make and sell marmalade with a Syrian twist and all profit going to our projects. Each jar is handmade – how very ap-peeling! We can supply large volumes for favours at weddings and gala dinners, these are sold in two sizes - 10oz and 2oz jars. If you’d like to place a large order please email Louisa@handsupfoundation.org. Branded jute bags can also be supplied. Smaller orders of our 10oz jars can also be made online from the home of the World’s Original Marmalade Awards, Dalemain Mansion.

ِ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 in Syria are greater than ever. For us, it is important to try and answer these 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.

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

Medical Salaries

The need for medical aid in Syria is vast, 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. For an initial 6 months we are funding the salaries of 21 staff: a GP, a pediatrician, a midwife, nurses and guards. In addition to that we will cover the costs that make these jobs possible: fuel, stationary, a vehicle and medical consumables.

The budget for this is £65,000 and Hands Up receives monthly timesheets and payslips from the staff to ensure the funding is delivered appropriately.

Al Amal school

Al Amal, meaning ‘hope’, is a new school for children with disabilities. We are delighted that this project is possible in besieged rural Damascus. Syrian children under 6 have only ever known a country in the midst of a civil war, those older may or may not have been lucky enough to go to school. Shafak, our partner for this project, is a brilliant organisation, which runs health and socionomic projects across Syria.

The budget for an initial 4 months is £42,000, and this funding supports the costs of launching the facility, including; salaries for teachers, assistants, guards and cleaners as well as costs for stationary, fuel, education kits and rent.

Hands Up receives monthly updates on teaching staff and lists of attendance. We very much hope to continue our support after the initial funding phase.

Prosthetic Limbs

Over the last three years we have raised money to support the National Syrian Project for Prosthetic Limbs which runs 3 clinics: one in Reyhanli on the Turkish border, one in Idlib in Syria and a mobile clinic also inside Syria. Our funding supports costs including staff salaries, materials, rent and fuel as well as patient treatment.

The average cost of a limb is £380 and this programme is designed to get people back to work, restore dignity or simply allow patients not to feel helpless at home.

These clinics have been in place since 2013 and produce and fit around 100 prosthetics per month, with no charge.


We continue to support the work of Syria Relief, one of our long-standing partners. We will be working with them to take on further projects over 2017.

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

4th October Syrian Supper Club at E5 Bakehouse
12th October Syria, Food for Thought
1st November Syrian Supper Club at E5 Bakehouse
16th November Syria, Food For Thought — Special Dinner
6th December Syrian Supper Club at E5 Bakehouse
12th December Singing for Syrians 2017 — Flagship Carol Concert