SEATTLE, Washington — In wake of escalating violence in Aleppo, Syria, organizations across the world are reaching out in support of victims and refugees. The Chicago-based Karam Foundation is one, founded in 2007 with a local food drive and now supporting refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Syria.
The Karam Foundation’s ultimate goal is to create sustainability and independence for Syrian refugees. In 2016, it was able to offer prompt humanitarian aid and build on a number of its initiatives. The Smart Aid initiative, for example, has dedicated resources to food relief, winter resources, and medical rescue.
The White Helmets is a heroic force in Syria dedicated to rescuing victims in conflict zones. Members of The White Helmets risk their lives daily in order to protect the country they love and have helped save more than 22,000 lives. Karam has supported the force since 2014 with emergency aid, winter clothes, heating fuel and ambulances, each of which costs $15,000.
As families continue to be displaced and separated by the Syrian crisis, sponsorship is crucial to providing hope for rehabilitation and future sustainability. Beginning in 2015, the Karam Foundation’s sponsorship program seeks to provide financial support and education for families. For $50 a month, a donor can sponsor a family or child, and in 2015 Karam was able to support 18 families and help 35 children to attend school.
Families with infants have little to no access to reliable nutrition. The #Milk4Syria program has been ongoing since September 2013 and has provided almost 70,000 boxes of formula to more than 41,000 Syrian families. By supplying formula monthly to families in need, the health of infants is improved.
Every summer, the Karam Foundation provides a month’s worth of food to hundreds of Syrian families. The food distribution program has also supported potato farming and created economic opportunities. In winter, The Karam Foundation distributes winter packages including wood-burning heaters and fuel to schools and homes.
Karam’s Books Not Bombs program is seeking scholarship funding for the children of Syria. Finally, the Karam House, opening in 2017, will be a safe haven offering a five-week shelter program for displaced youth. Fundraising is ongoing for the project, which will provide holistic care, education and will seek to give young people the language and technical skills they need to succeed.
Founders of the Karam Foundation, Kinda Hibrawi and Sergie Attar, are devoted to returning hope to Syrian communities. Despite widespread displacement and violence, the support of dozens of charitable organizations like Karam is keeping opportunity alive for thousands of refugees and equipping them for future prosperity.
– Amy Williams