- If you’ve taken some time to watch the atrocious results of the chemical gas attack on Syrian citizens in the village of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib this week, I’m sure you’ve spent some time feeling as outraged and helpless and heartbroken as I have and wondering how to help the Syrian victims.
Doing something positive has always made me feel somewhat less helpless, and gives me a constructive way to channel my feelings, even if it’s just donating a few dollars where I can.
The thread is packed with outstanding resources. I urge you to click over to her account @eemi for continued updates and resources; but here, I’m going to lay out the amazingly comprehensive list of organizations she shared, as well as others I love, all of which would be so grateful for any support at all that you can offer.
Edited to add: A few more organization suggestions have been rolling in since we first published, and we’ll update with some additions below. How grateful we are to know so many people are dedicating themselves to so much good — and that includes our readers sharing other tips with us.
Top photo: Save the Children
SYRIAN SUPPORT ON THE GROUND
Photo: Syria Civil Defense
Médicins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) is of course one of our go-to relief orgs for nearly any global crisis, as they deploy trained medical professionals where they’re most direly needed.
Islamic Relief USA does great work all over the world, but their efforts in Syria and neighboring countries have served nearly 10 million over the years, providing food, medical aid, water, blankets, mattresses, clothing, and more.
The Syrian American Medical Society is another non-political, medical relief non-profit working on the front lines of Syria and neighboring countries to provide medical assistance.
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS WORKING WITH SYRIAN REFUGEES IN CAMPS
Karam Foundation is a 10-year-old non-profit I’m so happy to discover, if only just know. They fund projects focused on “smart aid,” innovative education and sustainable business development. What’s fantastic is that all their overhead is covered in other ways, so 100% of the donations you make toward their programs goes right to Syrian children and families. Plus, it’s run by an impressive young team, most of whom are Syrian-American women.
Sunrise USA is a leading provider of humanitarian aid to Syria. Just $40 provides a food basket to the most needed areas.
Project Amal ouSalam is a grassroots organization that focuses on innovative educational and social programming for Syrian refugee and displaced children.
Hands for Syria is a UK based charity providing medical and humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians.
Medical Teams International, based in Portland, OR, is a global health org with a focus on disaster and refugee relief. Right now, they have two big initiatives focusing on supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon and European countries.
SMALLER LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS FOCUSED ON SYRIAN RESETTLEMENT OR REFUGEE CAMPS
IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services) has a lot of initiatives, but one big way to help is to co-sponsor a refugee family resettling in the United States.
Church World Service is a long running, faith-based org that engages congregations and individuals to take action, volunteer, communicate with elected officials and more, and their current initiative provides services to newly settled refugees in Greensboro.
HIAS is a global Jewish non-profit helping to protect, advocate for, and resettle refugees (and in fact the creators of the printable Hamilton Haggadah we recently featured suggested a donation to them in exchange for the free PDF.)
NB: Especially with Passover coming up this week, a lot of observant Jewish families are taking this as an opportunity to connect their support for the refugee crisis with the Passover story, even incorporating the terrible modern-day stories of exodus into their seders.
A SOLID CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN TO HELP THE CHILDREN OF SYRIA
New England based NuDay Syria needs immediate help with medical efforts, humanitarian aid and food specifically for children impacted by the deadly attack; and your donations have immediate impact. Even $5 through their Lazoo fundraiser helps.
Looking around the site, I love the impact they’re making truly from a grassroots level. I also am moved by their description of their focus as “empowerment and aid with dignity to Syria’s mothers and children as well as building bridges from our families here in the US to families inside Syria.”
GLOBAL ORGS THAT DO GOOD IN SYRIA AND BEYOND
Five international organizations are working on the Syria crisis together, having just issued a joint press release about the situation, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them all here.
CARE International is often the first on the ground in a humanitarian crisis, and this fact sheet (PDF) about their work with Syrian refugees around Europe through the years-long crisis is astounding.
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRO) is an independent humanitarian organization that helps those around the world forced to flee their communities. This personal essay on their site about the changes in Syria, including then/now photos, is an excellent read.
Oxfam International has many ways to take action if you can’t donate, including fundraising, hosting a hunger banquet, creating art for Oxfam, or writing to Congress.
Save the Children has helped more than 3.3 million people in Syria since 2012, more than two-thirds of them children. (Photo, above) They have lots of ways to help, and break down the impact of donations: $50 provides warm blankets for 10 children, $100 provides care and counseling for the most vulnerable children.
EVEN MORE ORGANIZATIONS HELPING IN SYRIA
With thanks to readers, commenters, friends and Facebook fans
ShelterBox USA (above) is another organization I’m really happy to discover. They partner with other trusted non-profits specifically to create shelter for refugee and displacement camps. They have a dedicated Syrian program (including neighboring countries, and in the past five years, they’ve delivered an impressive $5 million in humanitarian aid, helping more than 9,000 families.
UNICEF, one of my all-time favorite orgs, has a direct link for donations earmarked for Syria. Their site asserts that they’ve helped to mobilize the largest relief operation in history in response to the Civil War in Syria, providing drinking water, food, vaccinations, educational opportunity for children and more.
Preemptive Love Coalition calls themselves a “global community of peacemakers” and they focus on providing lifesaving pediatric heart surgeries, and providing food, education and safe shelter for displaced families. They were perhaps the first organization in Aleppo, and you can read some of their stories here.
Medical Teams International is a Christian-based non-profit which, like MSF, is providing vital health care, vaccines, mental health care, and nutritional help to refugees in crisis.
Hand in Hand for Syria one of ShelterBox’s partners, this UK-based non-profit was set up at the start of the Syrian conflict and now has more than 300 staff members on the ground there. While they do provide immediate humanitarian aid, their focus is longer term projects to rebuild infrastructure, offer skill-training, and create work opportunities.
Humanwire (above) is a truly innovative idea, like a Kickstarter for social good. It pairs you one-on-one with a carefully vetted refugee — from an orphaned infant to an entire family — so you have the ability to launch your own online campaign to help rally friends and family for support. There are even “rewards” at different contribution levels, like a live video with the family. The best part is that 100% of donations go directly to the people you are supporting; their own fees are underwritten through dedicated contributions.
The Center for Victims of Torture/Jordan has a program exclusively to help the more than 600,000 Syrians registered with the UN refugee agency in Jordan. So many have suffered trauma as victims of torture and abuse, the CVT helps them work toward healing, rehabilitation, and once again living productive lives of dignity.
Questscope is committed to help the youngest victims of the Syrian conflict, so if you’re looking to help children specifically, they’re a great option to check out. They create alternative learning programs, vocational training for older teens, and essential mentoring between a caring adult and at-risk child.
For even more amazing orgs — and wow, there are tons — please see the fantastic suggestions from our readers below in comments. Just be sure to click around the sites and get solid info about any you might not have heard of so you can feel confident that your donation is in good hands.
And if you’re looking for a solid, straightforward explanation of the Syrian refugee crisis, either for you or your kids, Eeman recommends this terrific Brainpop-style video: The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained from a terrific educational channel called Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell:
It’s very straightforward in a nice conversational way and it pulls no punches about some of the more difficult facts, however the cartoon illustrations soften the blow for younger kids.
Just know it’s “a little outdated but still good,” as Eeman put it.
Much gratitude to her for taking the time to list so many of these resources which are new to us, and certainly to many of you.
Be to check out her entire Twitter thread and follow Eeman, Laila Alawa, and the organizations listed here for other ways to help besides money — including writing your elected representatives, volunteerism, advocacy, and social amplification.
Even just opening our hearts and practicing compassion makes a difference right now.