As Refugee Week 2023 approaches, we are committed to spotlighting Syrian refugees’ remarkable journeys and achievements. This year, Refugee Week will be from the 19th to the 25th of June. This annual event celebrates the contributions, creativity, and resilience of refugees and individuals seeking sanctuary worldwide. We invite organizations and individuals to join hands in bridging the opportunity gap and positively impacting the lives of refugees around the world.
The conflict in Syria, which began twelve years ago with the outbreak of civil conflict, stands as one of history’s most enduring humanitarian crises. Despite the passage of time, Syria continues to face the world’s largest refugee crisis, with 12.3 million, over half the population of Syria forcibly displaced since 2011.
Among the challenges Syrian refugees face, access to education remains a significant concern. Studies reveal that approximately 1.5 million school-aged Syrian refugee children reside in Turkiye, Jordan, and Lebanon. Regrettably, nearly half of them lack access to formal education, and over 75% drop out before secondary school.
Most recently, threats of losing their homes and being detained or deported have triggered many Syrian children and families finding refuge in Lebanon to be in chronic fear. This comes as the latest in an escalation of anti-Syrian sentiment and exploitation over the years, reflecting the intensity of hardship for those who have endured political tensions, financial duress, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The pileup of hardships has been felt most intensely by the most marginalized, whose living conditions and mental well-being are significantly affected.
As part of Refugee Week 2023, we call on organizations and individuals to show solidarity with and celebrate Syrian children and youth, and help us expand opportunities for education, entrepreneurship and career development . Whether through monetary or in-kind donations, volunteering and mentoring, supporting Syrian-led businesses and social enterprises, helping us expand our network and open doors, or spreading awareness of the challenges facing Syrian young people, every contribution matters. Refugee Week is particularly significant this year as it marks its 25th anniversary since being founded in the United Kingdom in 1998. The vision of Refugee Week is to create inclusive and resilient communities where refugees and asylum seekers can safely live and continue to contribute.
Inspirational Syrian Refugee Stories
Yusra Mardini, a Syrian refugee, displayed incredible courage and resilience. She was a 17-year-old swimmer when the conflict in Syria started. She lived in Damascus, which was devastated by the conflict. In August 2015, four years after the conflict began, Yusra and her sister were forced to flee their family. They flew to Istanbul and traveled up the Turkish coast, taking an overcrowded dinghy to the Greek island of Lesvos. Yusra was among four passengers who got into the sea to prevent the boat from capsizing. She braved treacherous waters, swimming for hours. Her journey led them to Germany, where she found safety and was granted asylum. Yusra's remarkable achievements continued as she became one of ten athletes chosen for the Refugee Olympic Team in June 2016. Competing in the Rio Olympics, she triumphed in her 100m butterfly heat and participated in the 100m freestyle event. Yusra participated in one of Jusoor’s Annual Galas as a panelist with Hollywood star Olivia Munn. And recently, Yusra and her sisters’ stories were acted in “The Swimmers” movie by Netflix.
Sami Al Ahmad, a Syrian entrepreneur, found inspiration and support through Jusoor's Entrepreneurship competition. Recognizing students’ challenges during their university applications and registration in Egypt, Sami developed "Khutwa," an initiative that assists Syrian and foreign students in continuing their academic journeys. Winning the competition propelled Sami to deepen his knowledge and expand his network, guided by Jusoor's entrepreneurship team. With newfound perspectives and determination, Sami embraced growth, scalability, and success as he embarked on his entrepreneurial journey.
Jusoor remains committed to maximizing the potential of Syrian youth through education. Our goal is to positively impact the lives of one million Syrian youth by 2031. By offering educational and entrepreneurial programs to Syrian children and youth across the Middle East and globally, we aim to secure one of society’s most fundamental rights: quality educational opportunities that can uplift entire communities.
“We have enormous aspirations for Syria’s youth, and the support we have received from across the globe inspires us on a daily basis. I am greatly looking forward to what we can achieve together as a global Jusoor community.”
Expressed Rania Succar, Co-Founder of Jusoor and CEO of Intuit Mailchimp.
“Our strength lies in the expertise and deep connectedness of our team on the ground and globally, who power Jusoor to champion positive change in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkiye and Iraq and in North America, the UK, Europe, and Asia. Your support is a lifeline and a pathway to a brighter future for Syrian children and youth brimming with promise and curiosity. They, in turn, have already begun to change the world.”
Said Dr. Alexandra Chen, Jusoor Trustee, UN Advisor, and Trauma Psychologist.
For those who wish to make a difference in the lives of Syrian refugees, Refugee Week 2023 offers a meaningful opportunity to contribute. Join Jusoor and join the movement that bridges the educational gap, empowering Syrian refugees to build brighter futures.