Souriyat Across Borders, Syria
The founders of Souriyat have a compelling personal story – as refugee women themselves, they got together with other Syrian women in the diaspora and other refugees to provide sorely needed services in order to help individuals affected by the ongoing war as well as contribute to building lasting peace and women’s empowerment in seeking peaceful solutions.
Although all were directly affected by the refugee crisis, they were uniquely motivated by the strength of Syrian women, and sought to restore their hope in the future, in each other, and in themselves following the loss of their country and their loved ones. they believe strongly in the power of women to rebuild society and their critical role in a future of peace, and are creating a new kind of organization sharing the responsibilities.
Intimately familiar with the needs of refugees, they champion their recovery not only physically, but also psychologically, and acknowledge the need for long-term support. In addition to providing medical services, Souriyat also offers educational programmes to prepare children for post-secondary education, serves 500 students in 2016; raises money for food, hygiene kits, and clothing for refugee camps in Jordan and Syria; runs workshops to help refugees integrate into their new societies; and provides vocational training to Syrian women, allowing for them to support their families financially—all of this free of charge. One of the interesting elements of their education programme is providing English classes for Syrian and Jordan students together – building peace student to student in what can sometimes be a difficult relationship between refugees and host country residents.
They continue to seek out new opportunities to alleviate the conditions of refugees, recently introducing static caravans to the Zaatari refugee camps in place of insubstantial shelters, greatly improving the health and safety in the camps, and setting an example to many other camps and donors in the region.
The co-founders of Souriyat Across Borders, Nisreen, Samera, Samara and Zeina are recognized for the critical work they are doing and they way in which they go about it to build a peace with justice and equality in Syria.