One of the most important nonprofit organizations working on behalf of children is World Vision, an organization that believes no youth should live in poverty. Over the years, World Vision has taken on a number of projects to improve the conditions of children around the world. Some of the most prominent initiatives include the child sponsorship project and efforts to end HIV/AIDS, especially among young women. Another important issue that the organization tackles is displacement.
Today, more than 60 million people are living as refugees because of conflict in their home countries. The number of refugees worldwide has not been this high since World War II. Often, refugees live in extreme poverty and face difficulties obtaining education, healthcare, and even clean water. World Vision has worked in displacement sites for more than three decades to help improve conditions for the children and families who are forced to live away from home.
A Recent Focus on Families Displaced from Syria
Now in its sixth year, the crisis in Syria stands as the largest source of refugees around the world. Syria also has the second-largest number of internally displaced individuals. The conflict has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, including an estimated 19,000 children, and more than 11 million citizens have had to find new homes.
Displaced children face harsh conditions. Many of them have no access to education once they leave their home, and some are even forced into child labor. Serving the needs of these children is difficult, as Syria is an active war zone, yet World Vision recognizes the importance of assisting the refugee population.
Because of the shifting combat fronts in Syria, World Vision has taken a rather mobile approach to helping refugees and avoiding the threat of violence against humanitarian workers. The organization has formed partnerships with a number of local Syrian organizations to expand its reach and serve as many people as possible.
Within Syria itself, World Vision has helped ensure that people in refugee camps have access to adequate amounts of food and provided healthcare through mobile clinics. The organization maintains a special focus on medical and nutritional aid for women and children, and has handed out baby-care kits to ensure that displaced families have the basic necessities. World Vision has also undertaken psychosocial care initiatives for children to help them process the conflict and improve their mental health.
Helping Families Displaced in Other Countries in the Middle East
While more than 6 million people are displaced within Syria, 5 million have fled to other countries. The vast majority of Syrian refugees have moved to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt, although about 10 percent have settled in Europe.
World Vision is working with refugees in Iraq to ensure they have access to stoves and winter supplies, as well as clean water and sanitation. For children, the organization has created education and recreation programs that emphasize resilience and teach about the importance of peace to help avoid conflict in the future.
In Jordan and Lebanon, World Vision is furnishing personal and household supplies and offering opportunities for education. The organization provides Child-Friendly Spaces and training for adults on how to protect and support children in a refugee situation. Additionally, the organization has provided water and sanitation aid to Syrian refugees living in Turkey.
How You Can Get Involved and Help Support Syrian Refugees
Individuals who want to help support the millions of people displaced by the conflict in Syria have a number of options. One of the most important ways to support refugees is by raising awareness of their needs. Many people throughout the United States still do not understand the extent of the conflict in Syria or the extreme need of people displaced by the war. To educate others and encourage them to join in the effort to support refugees, individuals can bring the issues before classrooms, houses of worship, workplaces, and other locations where people gather.
One direct way to help refugees is by collecting donations. An online donation page or even in-person donations can help change thousands of lives. Even small amounts of money can have a significant effect. For example, $14 provides a new, safe place for children to learn and engage socially. A $10 donation pays for food for a refugee for an entire week. Even $4 helps equip refugee camps with solar lighting to improve overall safety.
As a Christian organization, World Vision also encourages individuals to pray for the families and especially the children impacted by the conflict. Individuals may want to pray that the refugees have access to adequate food and water, that they remain safe from the war going on around them, and that family members can find each other in the event that they are divided. Above all, families should pray for peace in Syria.