Operations Manager Visits Turkey

Syrian Forum USA’s Operations Manager, Noura Almasri, recently took a trip to Turkey to visit the offices of our principle partner Syrian Forum. Ms. Almasri visited with each of the Syrian Forum’s six institutions, Ihsan for Relief and Development, Rizk for Professional Development, Fener for Community Advancement, Bousla for Training & Innovation, Omran for Strategic Studies, and Alsouria.net, the media institution of the organization.

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Ihsan for Relief and Development, which operates 100% out of Syria, continues its work to provide direct aid and assistance to the most needy Syrians. Ms. Almasri met with Yisser Bittar, a Syrian American living in Turkey and the Partnership Manager at Ihsan, who was recently chosen as a Coordinator for the Global Education Cluster at the UN as a part of UNICEF’s response to the crisis in Syria.  The Education Cluster brings together NGOs, UN agencies, academics, and other partners under the shared goal of ensuring predictable, well coordinated and equitable provision of education for populations affected by humanitarian crises.

While her visit to the office of Rizk for Professional Development, job seekers came in everyday to apply for training and assistance in finding jobs. Due to the high demand of Rizk’s resources, Syrian Forum is hoping to expand their services in several other locations. You can help by donating to Rizk here.

Ms. Almasri also met with Imad Kusa, the director at Fener for Community Advancement, which provides refugees with opportunities to integrate into their new communities through sports activities, cultural events, and community workshops. Interests in activities, such as the Nojoom Al Ghad (Stars of the Future) Sports Academy, are overwhelming as the opportunity provides the Syrian refugee youth with constructive activities.

At Omran for Strategic Studies, Ms. Almasri met with Dr. Ammar Kahf & his team where they are starting an international internship program. The internship program can be done virtually or interested participants can travel to Turkey. The planning for the program is still in the works, so make sure to check back frequently for opportunities!

Bousla for Training & Innovation often partners with Ihsan to train and engage Syrians.  Projects vary and include Child Protection Trainings, Training in Microsoft Excel, Psychological Health Trainings, Training in the Management and Maintenance of Water Stations, and many more. Bousla’s trainings have been an effective way to build capacity for Syrians and civil society organizations.

Alsouria.net is the media-producing institution in the organization and is a one-stop shop for the latest and most important updates on events inside Syria as well as geopolitical shifts that affect Syria. Their main office is in Istanbul but they have correspondents in Syria and they work around the clock to bring readers up to date news. Visit the site here.

Her trip also included visiting a medical facility in which Syrian Forum partnered to help supply the eye clinic. You can view photos of the facility here.

Syrian Forum USA is proud to support the work Syrian Forum is doing. Please consider donating to help maintain the programs we currently support and to expand in Syria, Turkey, and the US!

Ihsan Organization: A Story of Success in Empowering Syrians

With the war in Syria approaching the end of its sixth year, and with the military campaigns against the cities and towns of Homs’ northern countryside, there is a desperate need for aid and agricultural agencies to help civilians achieve self-sustainability and sufficiency rather than wait for handouts.

Though many aid organizations were started in Homs’ northern countryside since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, most were faced with financial hardships and lack of resources from sponsors which caused them to shut down.

At the end of 2015, Ihsan Organization opened a branch office in Homs’ northern countryside and started working on several aid projects to benefit locals. It followed a different path from its predecessors; one which allows locals to employ their own skills and abilities in providing their daily living, starting with agricultural projects such as planting potatoes and home gardens.

Ihsan Organization for Relief and Development is a non-profit agency that was established in July of 2013, according to its regional director in Homs, engineer Nidal Shalbout. It creates and sponsors service and development projects that seek to improve Syrians’ lives.

Ihsan launched “The Potato Project” in Homs’ countryside to benefit 1000 families who collectively own 2000 acres of land. Seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, and fuel for irrigation were provided along with close monitoring by a ground crew offering support to ensure the best harvest possible.

Ihsan’s media coordinator, Abdul Kareem Khashfeh, stated that the organization has recently started working on the “Home Gardens Project” for the Summer harvest, which aims to benefit more people from the organization’s free services, and provide 1400 more individuals with aid from 2800 acres planted with the following crops: beans (1 acre), cucumbers (1/2 acres), and corn (1/2 acres).

One of the project beneficiaries, Abu Ali, thought this form of aid is much better than handing out aid baskets, as it “teaches a man fishing instead of giving him a fish”.

Excelling through Training with Bousla

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Bousla for Training & Innovation, one of Syrian Forum's six institutions, is an independent civics training institution serving the Syrian population in areas of effective administration and good governance.

This month Bousla completed a training for water management in ‪‎Idlib, ‪‎Syria with 13 interns and carried out a needs assessment training with 20 interns and trainees.

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So far this year, Bousla completed 34 training courses, 24 projects, and benefited over 600 people.

Donate today!

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Rizk Placed over 5,000 Syrians in Jobs

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Rizk for Professional Development, one of the Syrian Forum's six institutions, provides Syrians with the opportunity to participate in programs which focus on professional development, job training, and job placement. Rizk is the first & the only ‎Syrian organization focusing on ‎professional development and ‎job placement for Syrians.

In 2015 Syrian Forum was able to secure over 3,000 jobs for Syrian men and women, helping bring in $16 million in renewable income that sustains the lives of 15,000 people, not one year, but every year for many years to come.

Rizk has found employment for more than 5,000 Syrians since its establishment in 2014. More than 30,000 individuals have benefited from the programs which Rizk administers in Turkey.

Donate to Rizk today!

See some of the jobs Syrians have been placed in through Rizk below.

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From Idleb to Chicago, Our Work Continues

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During the month of ‎Ramadan the Syrian Forum, participated in various activities throughout Syria and Turkey. Activities included distributing food in Aleppo and holding iftars for orphans in Istanbul as well as planning an iftar for more than 5,000 people in Darra, Syria.

In cooperation with Noour, Syrian Forum distributed approximately 12 tons of dates to more than 5,000 families in ‎Syria. The dates were distributed to those who have suffered most from displacement and took place in rural ‎Aleppo, ‎Idleb, and elsewhere.

Ihsan for Relief and Development, one of Syrian Forum's six institutions, also distributed 10,000 food baskets in Aleppo during the month of June.

Fener for Community Advancement, one of the Syrian Forum's six institutions, and Givelight Foundation planned together with Syrian Forum USA an Iftar for 400 orphans in Istanbul. The event included recreational competitions and the distribution of gifts and other fun games. The event was part of a campaign aimed at increasing social activity for orphans.

Syrian Forum USA is proud to announce the beginning of the US program which began in the Chicagoland area this July.  While the program is still in the initial stages of planning and implementation, we started the project by distributing food packages to Syrian refugee families in the west suburbs of Chicago. Staff was also honored to celebrate Eid with Syrian refugee families at Chuck E. Cheese in Naperville, Illinois. The children enjoyed playing games, eating pizza, and meeting Chuck E. Cheese himself! Syrian Forum USA provided each family with an Eid gift of visa cards.

Donate now to help us expand our new US program!

Below are photos from several events.

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