We decided it's time to do something that will have a long term impact. We are launching a school program for 100 Syrian orphans in Turkey. Click here to support this critical project.
Dian and a team of GiveLight volunteers travelled to Turkey earlier this year to distribute 13,500 "blankets of love" to Syrian orphans and refugees.
Meeting the orphans, seeing where they live and how they survive with so little was very moving. The blankets helped to achieve the goal of keeping them warm during the harsh winter nights, but what of the comfort they need in other aspects of their lives?
Wanting to do something special for them, GiveLight invited 100 orphans and their caretakers out to lunch on a beautiful sunny day. Some came with smiles, but many appeared sad — and understandably so. If just witnessing the images of their suffering is so painful to us as bystanders, how much more painful would it be for them to live with such unthinkable pain every day? We talked to many of the mothers, all of whom were widows, scarred by the deep wounds of war.
We asked them why their children were not in school. The answers were all the same; they could not afford it. The older kids (ages 9 -13) were being sent to work as cheap labor in restaurants and factories. In fact, we saw a few boys washing and drying dishes, drenching our hearts with sadness and leaving permanent imprints on our mind. After spending days distributing blankets to homes (or more accurately — huts), one thing became clear — these kids needed to attend school. Period.
With that in mind, en route back to San Francisco, Dian crafted a long term strategy and plans for GiveLight to make a meaningful impact on Syrian orphans in Turkey. We formed a strategic alliance with a trusted non-profit organization based in Istanbul that is run by dedicated and professional Syrians. We have coordinated a few more projects since the blanket distributions, including the distribution of jackets to 300 orphans, which keep them warm on the way to and from school. We also sponsored activities and dinner for 400 orphans during the holy month of Ramadan.
Beginning this September, we will be supporting 100 orphans and sending them to school. The cost to support one child/month is $50, which covers school tuition, uniforms, books, shoes, field trips and snacks. To sponsor a child, please sign up to become a monthly sponsor by clicking here .
We will send you a bio of the child you are sponsoring within 4-6 weeks, assuming you are committed to at least one school year's sponsorship. You will be able to communicate with the child by sending an email and may even be able to plan a visit in the future.
Prior to this launch, we have secured the following sponsorships through the incredible generosity of the following supporters:
- The Salem family - $4000
- Zarina Scholarship - $2850
- Maryam and Taylor - two high school students in the Bay Area who launched a campaign for Givelight - $1500
- Shahnaz and Family - $5,000
- Fulfilled Pledges - $4,000
This amount is enough to support 40 children for the whole school year. We are thankful to all of you for being among the first to take action. We know the desire to help is alive in many hearts. One of our own volunteers, Lujane Musadi, who travelled to Turkey last winter, shared her experience below:
Accompanying Dian Alyan on the trip to Turkey was an experience I will never forget. We constantly see and hear of the daily tragedies that befall the Syrian people, but seeing firsthand the faces of the orphaned children and talking to the widowed mothers who lost everything tares at your heart like nothing else. I looked a father in the eye who lost his wife and is now caring for five children alone. You could sense the feeling of failure in his voice and the absolute despair. The simple act of handing him two blankets to keep his children warm in the harsh winter months brought tears to his eyes, and as I saw this I couldn’t help but cry alongside him. In the comfort of our own homes, never has such a simple object had so much meaning.
The opportunities that Givelight gives these children is truly remarkable. They go above and beyond to bring smiles to the faces of these children. During our time there we took a hundred orphans out to lunch, and while there were some who were too traumatized from past experiences to even speak a word to us, others were giddy at the chance to eat out. I will never forget when one of the orphan girls noticed that I had not received my food yet and came up to me to offer me her fries. Givelight is giving these children every possibility to be a normal kid and put their horrible experiences in the past. They do all that they can to give light in times of darkness.
We are confident that we can help support the dreams of 100 children, if not more, and we hope many of our friends will join us in thisendeavor. It's time to wipe away the tears and build dreams for precious, innocent children who deserve just as bright a future as the rest of us.