20th November, 2022
Since 1954, the 20th November has marked UNICEF’s World Children’s Day. It calls each and every one of us to encourage international co-operation, friendship and strive for the improvement of children’s welfare. It calls us to advocate for a world where all children are able to thrive and receive the resources and rights that each deserves.
This year, World Children’s Day has the theme of ‘inclusion, for every child’. Although the day has been celebrated for over 70 years, tragically for many in Syria, their situation is practically a mirror of those that UNICEF was established to help in the aftermath of World War II.
Hands Up is so proud to operate under nonpartisan values, supporting all in need of humanitarian aid, irrespective of politics, religion, or ethnicity, whether they are an adult or child. In areas such as Tel Abyad, where our Primary Health Clinic (run by our partner SAMS) operates, being able to receive health care regardless of identity and beliefs can be a lifesaving gift. As a result of ongoing conflict and poverty, the health service infrastructure in this area has all but collapsed. Now, with a cholera outbreak sweeping Syria, this clinic marks a beacon of hope to our beneficiaries. The team continues to inspire us every day; they are currently battling the outbreak, as well as continuing to provide around 3,000 free consultations a month.
In Lebanon, our partner SAWA is also working tirelessly to continue providing education to 280 Syrian refugee children. This is so important, as since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, Lebanon has hosted over 1.5 million Syrian refugees, but due to the socio-economic and financial crisis there, 35% of these refugee children have stopped education. Faced with a tough choice between receiving much needed extra income and sending their children to school, parents often opt to put their children into work. This means that they miss out on vital education and lack the skills required to enter formal education. Without this, the horizons of their future shrink exponentially. SAWA’s education centre provides a refuge to these children, giving them the literacy and numeracy skills required to re-enter formal education and prevent them falling further and further behind, with no hope. A cold winter is coming in Lebanon, in which our education centre will be relied upon as a safe, warm shelter where these children can learn and thrive. But this also means a need for heating, and with it, rising operating costs. With multiple crises reigning, this is placing a massive strain on SAWA’s operations.
Regardless of whether it’s World Children’s Day, or one of the other 365 days of the year, Hands Up aspires to provide as many Syrian children as possible with health care and education. Yet given the current climate, this gets harder and harder with each day that passes. No matter how big or small, your support is indispensable in delivering these services. On this World Children’s Day, please lend a hand by donating here.