Volunteer groups have taken on a leading role in supporting the thousands of people from the East Ghouta region, east of Damascus, who were displaced to Idlib and western Aleppo in March and April this year.
At the Baza’ah internally displaced people (IDP) camp on the western outskirts of Aleppo, a volunteer group organised an Eid al-Fitr party last Friday for the children living in the camp, many of whom had recently been displaced to the region from East Ghouta.
“We are a volunteer team [from] East Ghouta,” said one of the volunteers. “We have [previously] set up activities in Ghouta and we wanted to do something for the Eid [celebrations]. We prepared the Eid gifts and went to the Baza’ah camp in Aleppo’s countryside.
The volunteer group hope that by organising an Eid al-Fitr party they can help the children overcome the horrors of war that many of them experienced prior to leaving their homes in East Ghouta. Moreover, many of the children have lost members of their families, sometimes even their parents, to the violence of war. Hosting an Eid al-Fitr party reassures the children that they are not alone and that they have the ongoing support of the volunteer group.
“The activities [we organised] included the organisation of the “Summer of Freedom” festival, in addition to setting up a programme to help children,” the volunteer added. “We tried to help the children in order to remove them from the psychological state they lived. Previously, they lived under bombardment in East Ghouta for two months. We have created interactive outdoor actitives to compensate for the pain that they [the children] suffered.”
Civilian-led initiatives have taken a leading role in supporting the estimated 15,000 people that were evacuated from the East Ghouta region, in the eastern Damascus countryside, in March and April this year. During the holy month of Ramadan, a civilian taskforce provided food, medicine and financial assistance to the new arrivals from East Ghouta. In addition, a group of activists helped to locate secure accommodation for many of the displaced families.