Ahead of the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York this week, the Karam Foundation calls on the U.N. to reexamine its aid distribution methods in Syria, which currently favor cooperation with the Syrian government. This approach to the humanitarian crisis has proven to be harmful to civilians, as validated by a wide range of local civil society organizations conducting aid initiatives.

The U.N.’s cooperation with Damascus ignores the fact that the overwhelming majority of aid it receives is channeled to regime-held territories. A recently published report by the Syria Campaign entitled Taking Sides: The United Nations’ loss of impartiality, independence and neutrality in Syria found that in April 2016, 88 percent of food aid delivered from Damascus went into government-controlled territory. With respect to U.N. aid in particular, it was found in August 2015 that over 99 percent of its aid delivered through Damascus was directed to regime-held territories.  

The U.N.’s ineffective aid distribution model in Syria has proven to be to the disadvantage of civilians, as it has barred many of them from access to life-saving aid. Thousands have died due to starvation, malnutrition-related illness, or a lack of access to health care. Moreover, this model has excluded key civil society organizations from receiving the support needed for their relief efforts.

Ahead of her upcoming speaking engagement at the 2016 Concordia Summit’s Private Sector Forum on Migration and Refugees, coinciding with UNGA, Karam Foundation CEO Lina Sergie Attar expressed her concern.

“After witnessing the scale of suffering for years through the work of Karam, it is disappointing that the U.N. has been incapable of finding a way to ensure that aid is evenly distributed to the Syrian people.”

Attar added that it is “unfortunate that the U.N. has selected to channel much of its aid to millions of Syrians in need through the regime when dozens of Syrian civil organizations are on the ground risking their lives to help people in need.”  

The Syria Campaign’s report, which has paved the way for a discussion on the credibility of the U.N.’s humanitarian principles in Syria, has been signed by Karam along with over 60 other organizations. It unveils a U.N. approach to the conflict that fails to embrace its “humanitarian principles of impartiality, independence, and neutrality.”

Karam Foundation specializes in smart aid, sustainable development, and innovative education for Syrians in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. Its initiatives focus on the need to respond to the refugee crisis’ causes rather than symptoms. Karam conducts aid programs that are both short- and long-term in nature and work with displaced Syrian refugees to provide lasting development and educational opportunities. Read about its “Children of Syria” campaign, launched in response to the video of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, here.

A Call for Action | Douma aerial attack kills 100+ Syrian civilians in marketplace

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CHICAGO, IL (August 17, 2015) – The Karam Foundation Team is devastated by the aerial attack on an open marketplace in Douma on Sunday, August 16, 2015 which left over 100 civilians killed and hundreds more wounded. We demand that the international community take immediate steps to stop all aerial attacks by the Assad regime on innocent civilians. All violence against Syrian civilians must end. 

One of the most difficult jobs we have as a humanitarian organization is to continue working on providing aid to thousands of Syrian families while these same people are being indiscriminately attacked. Why invest in sustainable businesses if crowds are bombed while shopping at the market? And why fund a school if children’s lives are tragically ended in a moment by a barrel bomb? These are questions you simply cannot ask as a humanitarian or as a human being. Our job is to continue fighting for the lives we can impact — but what is the world’s job? 

A No Fly Zone over Syria would have saved the lives of over 100 people in Douma yesterday. It would have saved the lives of thousands of people since 2011. How many more Syrians will be killed before they are granted the universal right of protection? 

The time to act is now. Support the Syrian people's right to live and protect their children. Support a No Fly Zone for Syria. 

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At Karam Foundation, we serve thousands of Syrian families across the country, providing them with aid that matters: Smart Aid. We believe that living in freedom and dignity is the right of every human being on the planet.

“Innovate to Educate” Campaign Aimed At Sending Syrian Children Back to School

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CHICAGO, IL/REYHANLI, TURKEY (August 10, 2015) – Karam Foundation today launched a fundraising education initiative, Innovate to Educate, in order to help Syrian refugee children living in Reyhanli, Turkey to return to school. 

“Karam Foundation has been focused on Innovative Education for Syrian youth since  2013. We believe that Syrian children deserve to have access to an education that helps them heal from trauma, reclaim their childhoods, and learn skills to create bright futures. This is why we are determined to provide the future of Syria with an innovative and holistic support system of creative therapy, physical wellness, technological tools, entrepreneurship, and global mentorship,” explains Karam’s co-founder and CEO, Lina Sergie Attar. This is the latest of Karam’s Innovative Education programs, which Karam hopes to eventually expand.

With 2.8 million Syrian children out of school, many have inevitably fallen victim to child labor. A large number of child refugees are employed in harmful working conditions, leaving them at risk for injury and exploitation.

Karam Foundation hopes to change some of that with the launch of this new campaign. As Kinda Hibrawi, Karam Director of Innovative Education, says, “at Karam Foundation, we believe that in order to educate you must first heal. Our Innovative Education programs do this by working on the ground, building lasting relationships and letting these kids know they are not forgotten.”

Karam will be asking for people to sponsor a child directly through their Learn Not Earn program or by selling their “stuff” via eBay GivingWorks to raise money for Karam Foundation. 100% of the proceeds will go towards enrolling children in schools.Updates about the campaign will have the hash-tag #innovate2educate.

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Karam Foundation was founded in 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. Following the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, and the ensuing humanitarian crisis, the focus of Karam Foundation has been Syrian refugees. Karam has developed innovative education programs for refugees in Turkey, as well as sustainable development and smart aid initiatives. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.