International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is launching a new fundraising campaign, aiming to raise $250,000 for programming that supports children and families who have survived trauma and tragedy in Syria.
Children are among the millions affected by the conflict in Syria, including many displaced in their own country. Whether through exposure to violence or the loss of a home, family member, and stable daily life, children are especially susceptible to mental distress and uncertainty about the future, IOCC reports.
Working with Church partner the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development, IOCC has created safe spaces called Dream Centers across Syria to help address these needs.
Dream Centers are safe spaces for play, learning, and psychosocial support that help children (and their caregivers) deal with trauma and difficult experiences.
Four centers in various locations (urban and rural) have so far served thousands. Children ages 4 to 18 take part in three-month courses of twice-weekly sessions and interactive activities like sports, theater, games, and art.
IOCC has been working in Syria since 2002, serving both Syrians in need and Iraqi refugees. Responding to the more recent crisis, IOCC has worked throughout the Middle East and Europe to meet humanitarian needs. Since 2012, IOCC programs have served more than 3 million people in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Armenia, Serbia, and Greece.
Photo courtesy: IOCC.org