Supporting Syrians in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
In 2020, Polish Embassy in Damascus in cooperation with AVSI Foundation carried out two projects in Eastern Ghouta in the Damascus province of Syria. The initiatives which aimed at assisting local community in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic were financed from the Polish Aid funds.
The developments in Syria have turned out to be the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. The ongoing conflict, which broke out in 2011, has destroyed the foundations of the country’s economy and produced waves of numerous groups of internally displaced persons. Eastern Ghouta is one of the Syria’s regions that became most heavily impacted by military activity. The difficult humanitarian situation has been even worsened by the coronavirus crisis which not only threatens the population’s health, but also, to a large extent, deteriorates the state of Syrian economy, and thereby, living conditions of many people.
Due to the war damage and lack of any other suitable space, the premises of Medaani local community centre serve as a doctor’s office, where just one physician who regularly commutes from Damascus treats over six thousand patients. Thanks to the projects carried out under the Polish Aid funds, the above mentioned doctor’s office, as well as other infrastructure crucial to the patients, have been renovated and equipped with furniture. Moreover, under the Polish projects, for five months the centre’s premises were hosting educational activities which instructed the residents how to maintain hygienic standards and prevent the coronavirus from spreading. In order to support local community, sanitary and medical supplies were distributed, and over a thousand households that were mostly in need received packages with cleaning agents, disinfectants, medicines, and personal gear.
The objective of the Medaani centre is also to integrate local population and provide children and adults with educational assistance, especially in the context of their vocational skills. The centre is open to all social and religious groups. Thanks to the meetings and joint lessons which will be organised in the premises also once the anti-COVID-19 measures expire, members of different groups will have an opportunity to meet their neighbours, understand their problems and needs. Further education and vocational development will help those affected by the military operations, especially children, to overcome trauma and get involved in normal local community life. Educational support will allow to counteract exclusion of entire social groups which, due to the difficult situation in the country, have been left without access to school facilities.