Syrian Youth produce face masks in response to COVID 19 for children and families
Supported by UNICEF, young people in rural Damascus pay back to their community
Rural Damascus, Syria, 1 July 2020- Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria around nine years ago, the UNICEF-supported centre for youth in Jaramana, rural Damascus has helped young people cope with years of violence and displacement and restore a sense of normality into their lives.
Offering 17 different types of courses, including languages, life skills and vocational trainings, the centre supports youth to reach their full potential in life, despite everything they have been through, thanks to a generous contribution from Germany. At the centre, young people also take part in social initiatives to pay back to their community.
“I dropped out of school in Grade 6 and since then I haven’t done anything with my life. This course has given meaning to my life again. I will look for a job in a sewing workshop”
“Social initiatives are one of the cornerstones of the programme,” says Fadi, the director of the centre. “It allows youth to think of the collective good and encourages them to volunteer to better their communities by applying what they learn at the centre,” he adds.
With the recent global spread of COVID-19 and the imposed lockdown across Syria, the youth centre had to close its doors but trainers continued to give lessons online, despite logistical challenges such as a poor internet connection.
“My mother works as a seamstress and taking this course has enabled me to work with her at home and improve our family’s income. I have dreams to start my own sewing workshop one day.”
A few weeks ago, as restrictions eased, the centre reopened its door while adhering to precautionary measures including daily sterilization of the centre, a reduction in the number of trainees per classroom, strict physical distancing and wearing masks.
To help their community face the new risk of Coronavirus, 25 young people who have taken part in sewing classes at the centre are producing over 5,000 masks to be distributed to children and families, made according to global standards and sterilized.
“I dropped out of school in Grade 8 and worked as a waiter in a small restaurant to support my family, but I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. I believe that taking this course will open new doors for me and it gives me a new purpose to be able to help my community."
“This initiative allows youth to practice what they learned during the courses and improve their skills while using them for the benefit of public health,” says Khaldoun, a trainer on one of the sewing courses.