Bringing people together through the power of stories

In a small coffee shop in Old Damascus, Al-Hakawati (the Storyteller) sits on a high chair every Thursday night and starts telling stories hundreds of years old into the early hours of the morning. His audience; a crowd of enthusiastic shisha smokers who hang on his every word…

Syria has a long and deeply loved tradition of story-telling and Al-Hakawati, the Storyteller, holds a special place in Syria’s culture. As a nod to this, and given the strange, isolated world we currently live in, Hands Up is teaming up with some of the UK’s best loved voices to bring their favourite stories straight to you, wherever you are. All you need do is tune in on your smartphone, computer or tablet for some entertainment. The schedule will be posted each week (on TwitterFacebook & Instagram), along with the storyteller of the week, the time and a link to listen. Each story will also be available to listen to afterwards from our social media channels.

There is no sign-up fee, all we ask in return is a donation to the Hands Up Foundation.

Yes, we must all stay apart for a time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t come together and share in the reassuring and age-old tradition of listening to stories.

COVID-19 is a threat we are all having to face. In Syria and on its borders, it has the potential to devastate vulnerable Syrian communities living in makeshift camps and shelters. The severe lack of appropriate medical clinics and staff (since last December, over 80 medical facilities have been destroyed or closed in north west Syria) means that the health system is simply not equipped to deal with an outbreak. Hands Up funds a Primary Health Clinic to the east of Aleppo, where the team are working hard to prepare for COVID-19 cases, while still looking after the surrounding community off 10,000 people.