UNICEF supports children in rural Damascus

Tens of thousands of children reached and benefitted from psychosocial support activities, mine-risk education, awareness raising sessions on child labour, early marriage and child rights.

UNICEF
young children painting a bus stoop
UNICEF/Syria2019/Majd Darwish
28 October 2019

UNICEF supports children in rural Damascus with protection activities and community initiatives Years of conflict have impacted children’s wellbeing in rural Damascus. Children have lived through siege, experienced displacement and suffered the loss of their family’s livelihoods. To support children in Al-Tal, north rural Damascus, UNICEF has reached thousands of children since 2017- many of them displaced from East Ghouta - with child protection and support services, helping them cope and reach their full potential. To help children make their voices heard, UNICEF and partners, has reached children through clubs in which children elected by their peers propose and implement community initiatives.

young children painting drawings on ground in a school yard
UNICEF/Syria2019/Majd Darwish
Children at the school yard of Jol Jammal school in Al-Tal, north rural Damascus, painting interactive drawings on the ground to be used by the school students for play activities, as part of the community initiatives led by children through UNICEF-supported children clubs.
young children painting drawings on ground in a school yard
UNICEF/Syria2019/Majd Darwish
Children at the school yard of Jol Jammal school in Al-Tal, north rural Damascus, painting interactive drawings on the ground to be used by the school students for play activities, as part of the community initiatives led by children through UNICEF-supported children clubs.
Children prepare their painting kits
UNICEF/Syria2019/Majd Darwish
Children prepare their painting kits before they start on painting the playground of Jol Jammal school in Al-Tal, north rural Damascus, as part of the community initiatives led by children through UNICEF-supported children clubs.

Many of the initiatives aim to address issues faced by the most vulnerable groups in the local community, like children themselves, women and the elderly by influencing and partnering with community actors. Taking the lead on community initiatives like improving local bus stops and creating pleasant playgrounds at local schools have left the children who took part in the activities feeling connected to their community. “Every day, I write down in my notebook one lesson that I have learned about life,” says Shaymaa, 14, who participated in the children clubs, in Al-Tal. “I love taking part in the activities we do at the children clubs because I learn a lot in each activity.”

young children painting on ground in a school yard
UNICEF/Syria2019/Majd Darwish
Shahed, 14, Shaymaa, 14, and Shaden, 13, colouring an interactive painting they made on the ground in Jool Jammal school yard in Al-Tal, north rural Damascus, as part of the community initiatives led by children in UNICEF-supported children clubs. Shahed and Shaden are sisters. They both attend a UNICEF-supported child-friendly space, where they met Shaymaa. The three became friends and got to participate in the children clubs.

“I love taking part in the activities we do at the children clubs because I learn a lot in each activity.”

Shaymaa, 14, (middle)
children and workers prepare paints
UNICEF/Syria2019/Majd Darwish
Children from the UNICEF-supported children clubs in Al-Tal, north rural Damascus, prepare to paint a public bus stop – while workers install the seat- as part of a community initiative organized by the children to rehabilitate local bus stops, making them more convenient for children, women and the elderly.
young children painting
UNICEF/Syria2019/Majd Darwish
“I feel trustworthy and heard. My friends at the children club voted for me to present my idea for the municipality,” says Karam (left), 11, who lives in Al-Tal, north rural Damascus. Likewise, Youssef (right), 14, enjoys voicing his ideas through the children club. “I am proud of being able to help my community,” he says. Both have taken part in community initiatives led by children in the UNICEF-supported children clubs in Al-Tal, north rural Damascus.
young children paining
UNICEF/Syria2019/Majd Darwish
“I was thrilled, when my initiative was selected for implementation,” says 12-year-old Ikram. “People waiting in the bus stop will be more comfortable after we have painted it and installed the seat.” She is one of the children taking part in community initiatives led by children through the UNICEF-supported children clubs in Al-Tal, north rural Damascus.

“I was thrilled, when my initiative was selected for implementation,”

Ikram ,12
young children painting
UNICEF/Syria2019/Majd Darwish
Children painting a local bus stop in Al-Tal, north rural Damascus, as part of the community initiatives led by children in the UNICEF-supported children clubs.

Thanks to generous contributions from the Office of the United States Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Syria Humanitarian Fund (SHF), Ireland and Canada, UNICEF has reached more than 10,000 children with psychosocial support activities and over 13,000 children and caregivers with mine-risk education. More than 16,000 children and caregivers have benefitted from awareness raising sessions on child labour, early marriage and child rights. And referrals to specialized services were made as well as cases of children managed, supporting children in need and their caregivers.