Aid & Development

In Daraa, a psychological support centre is rehabilitating children


The Sanabel Organisation in Daraa, southern Syria, is providing psychological support to the city's children and young people affected by war.

In Daraa, southern Syria, a psychological support centre has been opened by the Sanabel Organisation for children affected by war.

“Sanabel is an organisation that provides psychological and social support to children through drawing and sports in order to obtain their rights, such as playing and learning,” said Ayman Kiwan, coordinator of Sanabel in southern Syria.

One of Sanabel’s flagship support projects for children is its Colourful Syria art exhibition. The project features a variety of art workshops which teach the children a number of different creative skills, such as drawing and photography. The art that is created by the children in the workshops is then displayed in the Sanabel Organisation’s centre for other children and their families to admire.

“Sanabel organised the Colourful Syria exhibition in southern Syria,” said the organisation’s photography teacher. “The exhibition includes activities such as drawing and learning the Arabic script, handicrafts and photography. These activities provide psychosocial support to children despite the war.”

After seven years of war in Syria, children and young people have consistently been one of the conflict’s greatest victims. In the past year alone, 1,000 children are estimated to have been killed, with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reporting a 50% increase in the number of children killed in the past year when compared with the previous year.

In addition, UNICEF estimate that 3.3 million children in Syria are exposed to IEDs and other explosive hazards, including unexploded bombs and landmines.

As Daraa was never occupied by ISIS, the city’s children were not exposed to the militants indoctrination through education strategy, which has had a profound psychological effect on children elsewhere in Syria and Iraq. However, as one of the original cities to rise up against the Syrian Government in March 2011, children have been exposed to extreme levels of violence from the very beginning of the country’s conflict.

Moreover, there are renewed fears over the fate of Daraa’s civilian population, including its children, in light of an ongoing build up of Syrian Arab Army (SAA) forces in the region, who are determined to capture southern Syria from the FSA-affiliated Southern Front.

Despite the ongoing conflict, rehabilitation programmes, such as the Colourful Syria art exhibition, helps to restore a sense of normality for Daraa’s children, which will in turn nurture their vital development and education years.