Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, more than 12 million people have left the country and they are in need of emergency assistance. According to statistics, the violence in Syria has taken the life of more than 191,000 people, and additional 200,000 people have died from serious illnesses because they were unable to get access to medicine. Lack of medicine is a serious problem for people in Syria, and more and more are leaving the country each day. The United Nations have taken the responsibility to help the people, and Western Europe countries have taken an approach to “divide the responsibility” among them. But you can also make a difference by donating to charities that are trying to help people in Syria.
UNHCR is the first organization that comes to mind when you think of donations for Syria. The organization has been present in Syria since the beginning of the conflict, and is now entering the fifth year of the civil war.
According to statistics from UNHCR, there are more than 4 million refugees in countries close to Syria, such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. With no solution to the civil war in sight, most of them see no reason to return home. They have little to no opportunity to hit the restart button on their lives in exile. Inside the country, the situation is also worsening, as millions of children are suffering from illnesses and trauma.
UNHCR helps provide basic humanitarian aid for refuges, and since the beginning of the year alone, the organization has managed to deliver food to 1.8 million refugees, and enroll 500,000 children in school in other countries. The organization has also built camps to shelter refugees, and since January, the organization has managed to provide shelter for more than 450,000 refugees.
You can choose how much money you donate to the UNHCR, and with every donation, the organization helps another refugee.
Just so you have an idea how much difference you make, the organization is providing information what the money are spent for. With a $20 donation, you can provide two families with sleeping mats that will prevent them from sleeping on the ground. A $50 donation provides blankets and thermal fleece clothes for one family. Every $100 can buy a family a stove so they can cook for themselves, instead of waiting for food. And a $550 donation helps a tent to shelter one family. You can donate via the UNHCR website at or via your national office, where you receive tax certificates.
KickStarter has also joined UNHCR to provide help for Syrian refugees. KickStarter helps by launching a campaign where people can donate money and help millions of Syrian people. From the beginning of the campaign, KickStarter has had more than 21,000 donators who have donated more than $1,4 million combined. The campaign is active till the 15th of October.
Your impact is clearly shown on the campaign, as $15 donation provides one person with a mat and a sleeping bag to sleep. A $30 donation can provide 50 people with fresh water, while $70 provide two people with a complete emergency kit that includes food, water, dry clothes and a thermal blanket. A $160 donation can provide shelter for one person in a group tent along with mat and sleeping bag, while $195 provide one person with complete rescue kit and a shelter in a tent. Each $600 donation provides one year of education for a child from Syria.
KickStarter reached the initial goal of $1,225,000, money that can provide safe place for sleeping and necessities for 5,000 people. The current goal is getting $1,837,500, funds that will provide 7,500 people with sleeping place and necessities.
Save the children
Save the Children is a humanitarian organization focusing solely on children, and in this case, the children from Syria. According to data from the organization, more than 1 million Syrian children are in need of assistance. These children are refugees in neighboring countries, and they are at the risk of becoming part of a “lost generation”. Save the children helps these children by providing food for kids in Syria, supporting education in refugee camps and much more.
The organization has programs in the Middle East running for the past 20 years and counting. During the past five years as the conflict in Syria has emerged, Save the Children has reached over to 570,000 Syrian children, helping them with clean water, food baskets, education, warm clothes, medical help and support for their trauma. The organization supports 59 schools in Syria in which 34,500 children have gained access to pre-school and primary school education. The organization supplies uniforms, school materials, school bags, pays school fees and supports more than 1,000 teachers via salaries and training. Save the Children also repairs damaged schools, helps by providing equipment, learning materials and furniture for schools, all while also launching several back-to-school campaigns across the country.
How to protect from scams?
In cases like Syria, there are always charities and organizations that are trying to scam you and milk you money, without delivering help to those who need it. You need to be on guard for such scams, and pay special attention to social media. In latest years, social media has grown so much, and has gained steam to the point that people have started believing in those “like this picture to donate $1” scams. Be wary of donating money to unknown individuals that post on Facebook and Craigslist.
Now, if you want to donate, the best way is to send a check, as cash and money enable charities to buy what the refugees need, especially in terms of food, clothing, medicine and shelter materials.
Other Reliable Charities
Charity watch is an organization that helps identify reliable charities. During the crisis in Syria, the organization has identified several charities that have received “A, A+ or B+” rating. These charities are reliable and you donate to them.
They are: American Refugee Committee, CARE, Church World Service, Catholic Relief Services, Doctors Without Borders USA, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Lutheran World Relief, World Vision and International Rescue Committee.
Jeremy Scahill is one of the best reporters in the United States. He is the founding editor of The Intercept, an online news publication, and author of some of the best US mi...