Child Protection: Sports Activity for Children – Railway Collective Shelter, Aleppo

Life offers us light at the end of the tunnel, and in light of the human condition in which we currently live, there is no “light” like children who, despite the traumatic events they have been experiencing, continue to be a source of hope, life and energy.

Since our role is to provide psychological support to them, SSSD, in cooperation with the UNHCR, implemented an activity at the Railway Collective Shelter.

During the activity, the children trained in football and basketball, with warm-up exercises, free kicks, and running races, as well as doing concentration games, such as the Water Balloon Toss game and the Reverse game.

The children expressed their gratitude, saying:

  • “You’re helping me forget the fear and frustration I’m experiencing because of fleeing home.”

“Thank you for filling our time with you with useful things, especially since we can’t go to school.”


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Child Protection: Psychosocial Support Activities for Children in Collective Shelters – Aleppo

In natural disaster situations, adults suffer trauma. As for children, they show immediate symptoms of anxiety, fear, sadness, restless sleep, disturbing dreams, and lack of focus; some of them may even experience what is known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Therefore, within the Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan to the Earthquake that struck the city, SSSD, in cooperation with the UNHCR, carried out a series of PSS activities for children in CSs in the city of Aleppo.

These included a group of motor games and drawing activities through which the children expressed their feelings and fear. Protection and safety measures were tackled, coupled with tips that help reduce damage and injuries in the event of aftershocks, as well as a set of general tips on the importance of personal hygiene and the need to pay attention to general hygiene in CSs to avoid the risks of transmitting infectious diseases.

Some of the children’s feedback during the sessions:

  • “I learned how to act during an earthquake and how to protect myself and my family.”
  • “Today I drew everything inside me about earthquakes and wrote alongside the procedures that help me protect myself and my family.”
  • “For the first time, feeling relaxed, I was able to talk about the day of the earthquake. I’ll try to adhere to all procedures.”
  • “Today I was able to forget the fear of the earthquake while I was playing with my pals, and I learned how to act in order to protect myself when there’s an earthquake or seism.”

“I was very much missing my toys and my friends. Since we left home, I didn’t play with them. But today I got to know new friends.”


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Distributing Hygiene Supplies to Women Affected by the Earthquake – Aleppo

Women’s health care supplies during disasters are considered a human right that cannot be ignored. We must all contribute to helping women so that they do not incur additional suffering to obtain these supplies.

Therefore, SSSD, in cooperation with the UNFPA – Syria, distributed an integrated women’s hygiene kit containing:

  • Women’s cotton underwear (3 pieces size S + 3 pieces size M + 3 pieces size L)
  • Reusable sanitary pads set
  • Disposable sanitary pads (2 packs)
  • Detergent powder + 2 bars of soap
  • 1 toothbrush + 2 toothpaste tubes + 1 comb
  • Small emergency flashlight

2,000 women and girls affected by the earthquake, who live in mosques, churches and schools in the areas of al-Firdauss, as-Sukkari, ash-Shaar, Bustan al-Qasr, al-Hamdanieh, aj-Jalloum, Suleiman al-Halaby, as-Syrian, Franciscans, al-Furqan, al-Aziziya and the Arran village, benefited from this bag.

Also, 2,730 sanitary pads packs were distributed to 910 women and girls.


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Psychosocial Support: Awareness sessions for Seniors on Ways to Prevent the Earthquake’s Psychological and Physical Effects – Aleppo

Natural disasters create reactions both physically and psychologically, with many affected persons suffering from anxiety, fear, loss of concentration, and negative emotions and memories.

Therefore, the SSSD Home-based Care Team for Seniors, in cooperation with the UNHCR, conducted at the CSs in Al-Firdauss area a series of sessions for seniors on ways to prevent the earthquake’s psychological and physical effects, in order to help them mitigate these negative effects through a series of motor games and dialogue sessions.

Elderly people expressed their comfort during the sessions and shared some feedback:

  • “I thought I was too afraid. Then I was reassured that my fear was normal and that anyone could feel exactly what I’m feeling.”
  • “You made me aware that I must get info only from reliable sources so that I don’t let illusions affect my life. This really helps us calm down psychologically.”

“I was not aware of the need for us to keep calm, so as not to frighten our children, and to set an example for them.”


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Community-led Initiatives: Free Haircut for Children and Seniors in the Collective Shelter CLI – Aleppo

In light of the great pain that befell our region, the local community were able to prove that, together, they are brothers in hope before joy, for richer before poorer.

Hence, a group of youth working as barbers implemented the Free Haircut for Children and Seniors CLI at the Mazen Bagh School CS, in coordination with the SSSD team who have been present at the shelter since the first days of the disaster to help the affected HHs and provide them with assistance.

This noble stance had an important impact on the hearts of the people affected by the earthquake. In the words of one of them:

“I was upset about my hair because it was long and disheveled, and I didn’t have a comb, because the comb remained home! It’s good that a barber came and helped me!”



Recreational Activities and Awareness Sessions for the Affected in Collective Shelters – Aleppo

Children are particularly affected by natural disasters because of their physical and psychological vulnerability. They can be afflicted with panic, fear and tension that can last for long periods.

Thanks to SSSD’s presence in CSs to support the affected people in general and children in particular, its team carried out a series of games and recreational activities to help children surmount the state of fear and anxiety they experienced, in addition to executing a breathing exercise for stress relief.

The SSSD team also carried out awareness sessions on protection and safety measures in the event of an earthquake, providing tips to help residents cope and restore their former lives.

Some of the children’s feedback:

  • “Today I was a bit reassured because there was someone who cared for me, understood my fear and told me it was normal to be afraid.”
  • “Although the earthquake was terrible, I began to feel people’s love for each other, and see how their hearts show sympathy for each other.”

“I have learned what is the right action when there is an earthquake or seism. When we act right, I guess we can protect ourselves.”


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SSSD’s Cooperation with NGOs, Organizations and Official Agencies in the Context of the Humanitarian Response to the Earthquake Disaster – Aleppo

Within the framework of cooperation with official agencies and NGOs participating in the response, Al-Ihsan Charity Association, through its medical team, carried out, in coordination with SSSD, medical examinations for families and children, giving the necessary medicines to each case, with the aim of securing the best possible services for CS residents.

The STD distributed 50 food baskets to the HHs in the shelter.

At the Bechara el-Khoury School CS, the Children’s Food Safety Programme of the Ministry of Health conducted a vaccination campaign for children under 5 and checked on the children’s wholesome growth.

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