Project Amal ou Salam is a volunteer-run grassroots organization that sponsors schools and provides workshops for Syrian refugee children. We use music, art, sports, photography and team-building activities to teach the kids about trust and unity and help them deal with the trauma they have sustained. Our workshops provide open dialogue, giving the kids a safe space to tackle the issues that they face and develop their own ideas and visions for the future of Syria. In addition to running workshops in refugee areas in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon and inside Syria, Project Amal ou Salam also sponsors schools in these countries and responds to urgent needs of the Syrian refugee community. Project Amal ou Salam believes that every child has the right to an education, to a childhood free from trauma and violence, and to the hope of a peaceful tomorrow.
The Syrian children are the most affected victims in the recent conflict. They have lost their homes, their friends, and their schools, and many have lost family members. These children have sacrificed everything that is familiar to them for a revolution that they cannot even begin to comprehend. Today half of all registered Syrian refugees are children; some have known nothing but war and refugee camps for their whole lives, and many have limited or no access to education, therapy, or any recreational activities. Project Amal ou Salam makes innovative use of sports, arts, and other activities not present in the camps to support the mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing of the children and to give them a chance to just be kids again.
Project Amal ou Salam fully runs a refugee school in Jarash, Jordan, and also supports schools in Syria (Deraa and Idlib) and in Guvecci, Turkey. We provide school supplies for the children – pencils, books, erasers, coloring books, notebooks – in addition to art supplies and sports equipment. We help these schools pay their rent so that the kids have a place to go every day to learn and grow, and we support the teachers who are doing the important work of educating Syria’s next generation. We are committed to these kids and to providing them with every opportunity we can as they grow up in an environment where the mere existence of a school is an anomaly.
Syrian society does not promote expressing or sharing emotions, and parents and teachers are often not equipped to provide support these kids need. When PTSD and depression are not treated in children, they can lead to flashbacks, emotional instability, violent and aggressive behavior, bedwetting, nightmares, isolation and poor academic achievement. By helping the next generation cope with the trauma and tragedy of war, we are helping them to become strong, capable and productive members of society ready to rebuild their country.
Children are the future of Syria. They are the sole hope of reviving the country, and we believe it is important to empower them. It is important to inspire hope, to put smiles on their faces, and to remind them of what Syria once was and what it has the potential of becoming again. We want to give them the chance to be kids and not victims – to be more than “the lost generation.”