The lives of more than 5 million children have been scarred by the three-year civil war in Syria. Some have been severely injured themselves. Others have lost schools, homes or relatives.
Of these children of war, 3 million are believed to be displaced, a million are living near the front lines or in a battle zone, and at least a million are refugees beyond the Syrian borders. More than 300,000 children under the age of 5 are believed to be living in places so far inaccessible to help.
Here are some charities doing their part — and how you can help.
What they’re doing: Providing winter clothes, health care and psychological help for the children, plus shelter and sanitation facilities. UNICEF has vaccinated 2.7 million children for polio this year and is giving almost 4 million children educational material. UNICEF has helped get safe water to 39,000.
How to help: You can donate at www.childrenofsyria.info. You can find more information on social media, with the hashtags #ChildrenofSyria and #NoLostGENERATION.
What they’re doing: Providing necessities, digging wells to deliver water and distributing clothes, blankets, mattresses and infant care supplies. Mercy Corps is also setting up playgrounds and sports fields for displaced Syrian children in Jordan, and helping children work through trauma with mobile storytelling workshops.
How to help: You can donate at www.mercycorps.org/donate/syria.
International Rescue Committee
What they’re doing: Setting up the first secondary school for Syrian refugees at a refugee camp in neighboring Iraq that is home to 40,000 Syrian Kurds. Inside Syria, IRC has established three schools. About 1,500 children are enrolled, taking classes in math, science, religion, music, art and other subjects. IRC is helping give children backpacks with pens, colored pencils and notebooks.
How to help: You can make a one-time donation or become a monthly donor at https://www.rescue.org/donate/help-irc-respond-humanitarian-crisis-syria.
Save the Children
What they’re doing: Providing protection, education, health care, food, water and supplies. Save the Children also has suggestions for ways to raise money yourself, including holding charity runs and bake sales and getting schools to collect change from students — so-called pennies for peace.
How to help: Save the Children is using the hashtag #withsyria. You can donate and find more information at www.savethechildren.org.
Doctors Without Borders
What they’re doing: 718 staff are working in six Syrian hospitals and clinics. They have performed 5,000 surgeries, given 100,000 consultations, delivered 1,500 babies and vaccinated 77,000 kids against measles.
How to help: You can donate at www.doctorswithoutborders.org/country-region/syria.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees
What they’re doing: Supplying emergency shelter kits, warm clothing, extra thermal blankets, low energy heaters, diapers and other hygiene items to families, along with setting up emergency education and protection facilities for children. UNHCR found that many children are put to work or confined to homes and can’t get to school. The protection of children is a core priority for UNHCR globally, as they are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable.
U.N. World Food Program
What they're doing: Delivering life-saving food to millions of Syrians struggling with starvation and malnutrition. This year, WFP staff will help 7 million Syrians — men, women and children living inside the country's borders as well as refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.
How to help: You can make a donation at http://wfp.org/syria and share its facts on social media with the hashtag #SyriaHunger.