For six years, Syrian civilians have been the victims of a multifaceted war –taking cover and/or fleeing from not only a ruthless regime, but also forces loyal to it. Syrians that are fleeing violence are said to be perpetrators of terror, rather than victims of it. Yesterday, it was Syrians that paid the ultimate price.
Yesterday morning President Donald J Trump signed a revised version of the Executive Order which originally banned travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the US. The new Executive Order, that is said to take effect on March 16, imposes a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas to citizens from six Muslim-majority countries including Syria, Somalia, Libya, Iran, Yemen, and Sudan. The Order also includes a 120-day suspension of the US’s refugee program and states that the US will only accept up to 50,000 refugees in a year.
The revised Executive Order still criminalizes refugees and paints them as a potential threat to the nation’s security rather than a community of individuals that is fleeing war, terror, and persecution themselves. This order also fails to recognize that citizens of the listed countries who are eligible to obtain visas are set to undergo an extensive vetting process imposed by the US and that the average time to obtain a visa to travel to the US takes upwards of two years.
“This Executive Order is no different from the last one. It is a disgrace to our American values and it is inhumane. Refugees deserve our compassion and support as they are fleeing terror, persecution, and oppression. They are not the source of terror but rather the victims of it. We should be opening our borders to those families which seek refuge. Given the opportunity, they will be assets to the future of our country.”
–Lina Sergie Attar, Karam CEO/Co-Founder
Karam Foundation is appalled by this administration’s policy toward refugees and immigrants. This latest Executive Order is divisive and is by no means reflective of American values. We call on this administration to reassess the provisions of the proposed travel ban and to instead promote policies of inclusivity, acceptance, and support of vulnerable communities.
KARAM CONGRATULATES THE WHITE HELMETS FOR THEIR OSCAR WIN!
We would like to congratulate The White Helmets for their historic win at the Oscars last night for Best Documentary Short Subject. We are moved by the strength and will that guides these brave volunteers that risk their lives every day to save others. To date, this heroic team of 3,000 civilian rescue workers has saved more than 82,000 lives. After accepting the award, a room of star-studded actors, directors, and artists stood in recognition of the ongoing crisis in Syria that has taken the lives of over 500,000 people and displaced millions. As Syrians will soon enter their seventh year of suffering from violence, airstrikes, barrel bombs, death, and displacement, we echo the sentiments of Raed Saleh, the elected head of The White Helmets, who asked that the world stand on the side of life and take a stand to stop the killing of civilians in Syria.
Karam Foundation is proud to have worked with these heroes and to have supported their work. We have donated 11 ambulances to date to help them save lives. As the directors accepted the award, White Helmet workers were hard at work pulling bodies from the rubble after residential neighborhoods were targeted by warplanes. Their centers in Idlib and Douma were also targeted. As we congratulate these heroes for their commitment to humanity and applaud them for their work, we also stand with them in solidarity, and ask that the world take a stand to end the violence and killing in Syria.
Stand on the side of life. Demand an end to the killing. Sign the petition.
Karam Foundation is appalled to read the draft of President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees and other immigrants to the United States of America.
In addition to the proposed harsh visa restrictions, there is a proposed 120-day suspension of the refugee program and indefinite suspension of the Syrian refugee program.
Every year, millions of people flee their homes due to persecution and war, seeking refuge in nearby countries awaiting resettlement. The average time spent in exile for a refugee is 17 years. In addition, the U.S. already applies some of the most stringent screening procedures; to apply for resettlement and be screened for admission to the U.S. already takes up to two years.
This suspension will mean that refugees who have been approved and were close to coming to the U.S. will have to wait even longer until the review has been completed, with some potentially being turned away.
We call on this administration to remember that the United States of America is a country built and enriched by immigrants and refugees. These proposals are deeply shameful and contradict our American values. Every human being deserves the chance to rebuild their lives, including refugees. Like all of us, refugees want the same opportunities for a life of freedom, dignity, and prosperity for themselves and their children.
LAKE FOREST, IL - Karam Foundation is excited to announce our 5th annual Giving Tuesday campaign. This year, Karam will partner with Students Organize 4 Syria (SOS) for our third consecutive collaborative campaign.
Giving Tuesday is an international day of giving that is fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday was created in order to motivate people to give back to their community at home and abroad. This event officially kicks off the charitable season, a time during which many people focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.
In the last two years, Karam Foundation was able to collect an average of $150,000 in donations used toward winter aid packages for thousands of Syrian families. Winter aid packages include winter clothing, heaters, heating fueal, and firewood.
Determined to surpass last year’s goal and maintain the level of successfulness achieved in the past, Karam and SOS are calling on people of conscious to support Dares 4 Syria to help keep Syrians warm this winter. The Dares4Syria campaign is designed so that people from across the globe can participate in a fun way, supporting different teams that will perform dares in order to receive donations. The dares range anywhere from telling a stranger a joke to jumping into a cold body of water.
All donations will benefit Karam’s Winter Aid program. A donation of as little as $20 will keep one Syrian child warm this winter and supply them with a winter package, consisting of one coat, one scarf, one hat, one pair of gloves, and a blanket.
Join Karam and SOS this Giving Tuesday and help us keep Syrian children warm this winter. Visit http://www.karamfoundation.org/dares4syria/ to learn how you can participate and join a team, or ways you can support Karam’s Winter Aid program.
karam foundation stands with the people of Aleppo
Karam Foundation strongly condemns the attacks carried out in Eastern Aleppo over the course of this past week. Today marks the fourth day of continuous artillery fire and airstrike assaults which have killed an estimated 87 people. Many people living in Eastern Aleppo consider this to be the most intense bombardment that the city has experienced over the past two years. This has led to civilian groups, such as the White Helmets to be unable to respond to emergency calls, as shells are constantly falling on the streets.
Any regard to human life has been forgotten. Unconfirmed reports on the ground have declared that every hospital in Eastern Aleppo has been destroyed. Regardless, it has been confirmed that at least 4 hospitals, including a pediatric hospital and a nearby clinic, which is one of the last providing intensive care in Aleppo, have been severely damaged in the last two days. This has lead to many hospitals moving their operations underground in order to save their patients.
In addition to airstrikes and barrel bombs, chemical weapons have also been reportedly used this week. Medics and aid workers recently reported a suspected toxic gas attack on a district on the western edge of the rebel-held area. At least 12 people, including several children have been treated for breathing problems.
The continuous bombardment of Eastern Aleppo is adding an additional strain to the plight in this area. An estimated 250,000 people remain trapped in this region with medical, food and clean water supplies running out. In just 20 days or less, the population of Eastern Aleppo could face the prospect of mass starvation and restricted access to lifesaving medical aid.
Next week marks the beginning of the holiday season and a time of giving. Please consider donating to help Syrians in need through one of our many campaigns, including our winter aid campaign, which focuses on providing winter essentials, such as a coat, gloves and hats to Syrian children. The people of Aleppo need your support and compassion.
Karam Foundation is dedicated to provide essential aid to Syrians inside Syria and in its neighboring countries by providing innovative education, smart aid and sustainable development.
KARAM'S STATEMENT ON SCHOOL ATTACKS 10/26/2016
Karam Foundation strongly condemns both the aerial attacks on the Kamal Building Complex in Haas, Idlib, where three schools were operating and the shelling attack on Wataniya School in Western Aleppo. Our thoughts are with the surviving students, teachers, and parents.
At least 35 people, the vast majority students, were killed and over 30 wounded in the attack in Idlib carried out by Russian and Syrian army warplanes while 6 children were killed by rebel shelling on Wataniya School in Western Aleppo. These attacks follow a troubling and devastating trend of attacks on schools and students in Syria. Over the past 5 and a half years, more than 3,465 schools have been destroyed or damaged. Many have been converted for military use. The past month alone has seen more than 10 attacks on education centers, carried out by all parties to the conflict. Across the country, schools have been subject to aerial bombardment, car bombs, and random shelling.
The right to education is a fundamental human right. Over 1.7 million children in Syria do not have access to schools. Another 1.3 million are at risk of dropping out of school. Many of the students do not go to school due to destroyed infrastructure and a lack of safety at schools.
“We are heartbroken by the recent deadly attacks on Syrian children attending school. It is a feat of sheer courage and resilience for any Syrian child to go to school while living in a war zone. They should be protected while exercising their right to learn. We condemn every attack on civilian institutions in Syria. We call on the international community to immediately take every measure to make protection of civilian life, especially innocent children’s lives, a priority in Syria,” said Lina Sergie, Karam Foundation’s CEO and Co-Founder.
Karam Foundation is dedicated to the education of Syria’s children. We call on all parties to respect the sanctity of schools and the right of children to learn. We also call on those who have attacked schools and schoolchildren to be held accountable. The children of Syria deserve to go to school and deserve to learn.
To see an interactive map of some damaged and destroyed schools in Syria, please look at OpenSyria’s report: “The Ruin of Syria’s Schools: Mapping Damaged and Destroyed Schools in Syria”
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.
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.
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.