Brussels, 30 July 2018 – Today JRS Portugal organises the event ‘We do not forget Syria’ to reflect on what is happening in the country after eight years of conflict and to share the experiences of our JRS colleagues working there.
In 2018 the Syrian conflict entered its eight year and the situation of Syrians has not yet improved. According to UNHCR, over 5.6 million people have fled Syria since 2011, seeking safety in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and beyond. More than 13 million of people are in need of assistance and 6.3 million of Syrians are displaced inside the country.
Those who cannot escape are often the poorest and the weakest. Constant bombing makes the situation extremely dangerous. Daily life is hard and difficult. There are shortages of many services like water and electricity. Jobs are scarce, wages are low, and prices are high.
JRS work in Syria
The year the war started, JRS began its work in Syria to respond to emergency situations in the regions of Damascus, Aleppo and Homs.
JRS is working to support Syrians providing food distribution, medical care, psychosocial activities, home visits and non-formal education programs for children who have dropped out of school.
“We have gotten daily cooked meals from the JRS distribution point, I do not know how we would manage without the help of JRS, I could not provide my children with such kind of food,” says Kifaa, mother of five. The family saw their home destroyed because of war. Both parents are unable to find a job. Without the support of JRS, they would not be able to feed their children.
After the siege of East-Aleppo, many people are returning to districts that are completely destroyed. JRS tries to meet the needs of these people. JRS runs a clinic were psychosocial support is provided and provides daily warm meals. Through education and the organisation of activities like theatre, arts and craft and dance, JRS gives children a small sense of normalcy.
The work of JRS in Damascus is extremely difficult due to heavy shelling in the areas where JRS centres are located. Despite the constant bombing, JRS staff keeps organising activities to help people in need.
The situation in Homs is relatively stable, but JRS’s centres are witnessing arbitrary security attacks. Car and suicide bombs are usual in the region. But JRS Homs continues its work and organizes activities to empower women through literacy workshops.
Through all these years, JRS Syria has served and accompanied more than 220 thousand people as Kifaa and her family.
We do not forget Syria
Today, JRS Portugal organises the event "We do not forget Syria" at CUPAV (Centro Universitário Padre António Vieira), in Lisbon.
The event will count with the participation of:
- Fouad Nakhla, director of JRS Syria
- Gonçalo Castro Foneca, a Jesuit who works with JRS in Damasco
- André Costa Jorge, director of JRS Porgual
- Ghalia Taki, Syrian volunteer in JRS Portugal
We have gotten daily cooked meals from the JRS distribution point, I do not know how we would manage without the help of JRS, I could not provide my children with such kind of food