On 15 March 2011, Syrians took to the streets to demand more democracy. It was the time of the Arab Spring and throughout the Middle East there was a great desire for change and freedom. In Syria, however, the protest against the Assad regime turned into a civil war that destroyed the whole country.
Even today, 15 March 2021, the conflict is still far from being resolved.
"A decade of bombs, torture, displacement, resulting in 400,000 deaths, more than 6.6 million internally displaced people and 5.5 million people fleeing abroad. Eighty percent of the population lives in poverty, and more than 12 million Syrians today have no regular access to drinking water. It is impossible to describe in words the devastation of 10 years of war, passed in the most deafening silence", denounces Giulia Cicoli, Advocacy Director of Still I Rise.
Behind the numbers are the stories of people who have seen their lives destroyed by the war. Like that of Abdulkafi Alhamdo, Program Coordinator of Still I Rise in North West Syria.
"I am from Aleppo and from my city I had to flee in 2016. I resisted there for five years, after the war started, because I wanted to raise my people’s voice, calling only for freedom. We all thought it would be over in one, two or three months. We all thought that soon the world would mobilise to defend civilians, to protect the human rights that are so much talked about in the newspapers and on TV. But the reality is different”.
There are also the stories of the many children who have seen nothing but war in their lives. They were born under bombs and have no idea of what it means to live in a country at peace.
That's why Still I Rise set up the Ma'an education centre in the northwest of the country, where we offer education and protection to girls and boys aged between ten and 14. Still I Rise tries to get the children into school desks. It distributes food packages to families, so their children can leave their jobs and attend classes. In our education centre, we teach English, Arabic and maths and create a safe place for our students to be children again.
Marah is a 12 year old girl. She was forced to leave her home with her family and it was the most difficult moment for her. Now she lives as a displaced person in a tent, without electricity, exposed to the cold and bad weather of winter. Yet she dreams of graduating one day, becoming a good English teacher and perhaps returning to her village to teach children.
We know it is not enough, and that our intervention is just a drop in the ocean, but every day we strive to give voice to the needs of the Syrian population.
"We need to turn the spotlight back on Syria. Not only this week, when we remember a macabre anniversary of 10 years of war, but every day. Where is the international community? Where are human rights? Where are the rights of children? Several international powers are involved in Syria and it is politically a very difficult conflict to resolve, but as always in wars, it is the civilians who suffer. Enough is enough.”
Queste sono alcune delle testate che hanno ospitato gli interventi dei nostri cooperanti per parlare della situazione in Siria.