“In Syria, I studied, I had lots of friends and did lots of activities outside of school. We came just to spend the summer in Lebanon but then the crisis happened, and we’ve been here for seven years.”
Aya, 24, is one of the more than one million Syrian refugees living in neighbouring Lebanon. It is still a distant dream for Aya and her family to think about returning home, as the Syrian war enters its ninth year [March 15], they feel that it still isn’t safe.
“We have little hope of returning home. And for a young person like me, there are few opportunities. I’m here [in Lebanon] caught in the middle of this conflict.”
The ‘Youth Resolve’ project is a lifeline for Aya and other young Syrian refugees, supported by UK aid agency CAFOD and the EU MADAD Trust Fund – it offers young Syrian and Lebanese people the chance to bridge the divide through job skills training, education, and community activities such as renovating homes in their communities.
"As a young woman and also a Syrian refugee, I think it is my role to raise awareness,” said Aya, “I have studied conflict resolution and when everyone sees that the youth are friends with each other – whether they are Lebanese or Syrians – the tensions can disappear and we can feel more comfortable and have a better understanding between us.”
The UN estimates that the conflict to date has killed over 400,000 people and left 6.1 million people homeless within Syria, with a further five and a half million fleeing to neighbouring countries.
As global leaders meet in Brussels this week, for the third conference on the Syria crisis with the theme of ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’ - CAFOD believes that until a political process addresses the underlying issues that led to the Syrian war, there will be no safe future in Syria for Aya and the millions of Syrians caught up in this conflict.
Notes to editors:
For further information, please contact: Elouise Hobbs on - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Landline: 020 7 095 5453, Mobile: 07954 077 426 or Nana Anto-Awuakye on - 44(0)207 095 5456, +44(0)799 477 541 or CAFOD out-of-hours media hotline: +44 (0)7919 301 429.
Elouise Hobbs – CAFOD’s World News Officer is available for broadcast interviews to talk about her experiences with the Youth Resolve Project, in Lebanon
The UK government is to pledge an additional £100m for Syria crisis response this year, on top of the £300m already allocated for 2019.
CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development. It works with communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America to fight poverty and injustice. The agency works with people in need regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality.
Find CAFOD’s full policy paper here: Syrian Refugee returns . For further information on CAFOD’s work in the region, please visit: cafod.org.uk/Syriacrisis
The EU Regional Trust Fund (known as MADAD) is one of Europe's key providers for delivering on its €3 billion pledge at the London conference on supporting Syria and the region. With contributions from 22 EU member states, amounting to over 105 million, and contributions from various EU budget instruments, as well as Turkey, the fund has reached a total volume of € 1.4 billion to date. Projects focusing on education, livelihoods, healthcare, water and waste-water infrastructure have already been approved, covering a total of €1.213 billion. Some € 877 million have been contracted to the Trust Fund's partners on the ground. More information.