Syria – Family Support in Damascus

Family Support in Damascus, Syria

Canadian Jesuits International supports the work of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Syria, where the scale, severity and complexity of needs remain extremely challenging. In this context JRS is increasingly focusing its attention and resources on children and their families, with programs for education, child protection and psychosocial services.

Across the country, a large number of schools have been damaged or destroyed. Enrollment rates have been drastically reduced and existing schools are so overcrowded that displaced children are often unable to enroll in them. In addition, children face major risks of violence and exploitation in society. There have been significant increases in child marriage, child labour and child soldiers. Many young people have experienced severe physical and psychological trauma.

Yasmin Bouzo is among the children receiving JRS support in Damascus. (Photo: Ouwais Sadik)

In Damascus, JRS began emergency services for internally displaced people in the summer of 2011. Now, over seven years later, JRS teams are increasingly devoting resources to the social and psychological needs of children and their families as well as to educational programs for illiterate children and children who have dropped out of school. The Family Support in Damascus program encompasses these educational and psychosocial activities.

Recently JRS has been running its programs out of two centres in Damascus, in Dwelaa and Jaramanah. A new Jesuit centre is now being built in the Jaramanah area of Damascus and when it is finished in early 2019 all JRS activities in Damascus will be run in or from this centre. It will have facilities for group counselling, education, recreation and more.

CJI is fully committed to the Family Support in Damascus program, both during the transition period – serving 230 internally displaced people – and when it begins operating from the new centre.

JRS Regional Director: Fr Nawras Sammour SJ

Visit the JRS Middle East & North Africa website:

To contribute to the Family Support in Damascus program, please