Wars have many negative consequences on societies. Their long term strikes the solidarity of families, and people face extremely difficult challenges that threaten their present and future. The most common component among societies besieged by wars and challenges is the high cost for children, women and the elderly. The reality of the Syrian scene does not differ from the rest of the wars that the world is repeatedly witnessing. However, the years that have passed since that war began, have deepened the roots of suffering and challenges when it comes to addressing what can be addressed from that tragic reality.
The “Syria Bright Future” (SBF) organization is one of the non-governmental, non-profitable organizations that operated in Syria. The project was launched in 2008 by its founder Dr. Muhammad Abu-Hilal, who then formed a working group called “the Syrian psychological group”, which directed its activity to raise awareness on the basic concepts of health and psychological support. In the beginning of 2012, some of the working group staff headed by Dr. Abu-Hilal moved to Jordan, and re-established the team under its current name.
The “Human Voice” team conducted a poll, which targeted 80 individuals (men and women) who benefited from the benefits provided by the organization. The statistics received showed that the city of “Maarat Al-Numan” in Idlib countryside north of Syria, had the highest platform of participation in the poll, as the percentage of male and female participants from the city reached 33% of the total. Concerning this, the administration of the “Syria Bright Future” organization indicated that they implemented two projects in Maarat Al-Numan, the first of which is the project of integrating mental health services with public health services. The second project is the Syrian Intellectual Forum project, which perhaps had the greatest impact in raising awareness in this region, and drawing citizens’ attention to the services provided by the “Syria Bright Future” organization.
The polling process included women and men. The percentage of female participants was 57.5% whereas the percentage of male participants was 42.5%. The administration commented on this by saying: since the beginning of our work, we have focused on activating the role of women, raising their awareness and empowering them in all fields.
The percentage of female participants was 57.5% whereas the percentage of male participants was 42.5%.
According to the statistics received, the youth had the highest percentage of participation by more than 88%. While a little participation of the elderly was observed by no more than 2.5%. The organization’s administration explained the reasons behind this by saying: coinciding with our focus on women and their role in society, we worked hard to mainly attract the youth category who is usually marginalized in an environment of military conflict. Hence our interest in empowering the youth and training them and building their capacities in various fields.
Children playing at one point where the organization is active.
The remarkable thing about the statistics process that met all the basic conditions is that the vast majority of the beneficiaries (men and women) of the capacity-building programs of the “Syria Bright Future” organization are university degree holders. The authority in charge commented by saying that these groups are not necessarily unemployed, as many participants join the trainings in order to increase their capabilities and experience in many fields that may be related to their work.
Moreover, the poll reflected a clear freedom of speech and expression of opinions without fears or challenges. 55% of participants rated the quality of work as excellent, and 15% rated it as good while 11.3% rated it as medium. In addition, 16.3% of all participants rated the work as below good while 2.5% rated it as bad.
Based on these results, the organization’s administration said: “we think it is a good thing. The participants can express their opinions. We may need more details about the negative and positive points that the beneficiaries see, so that we can improve our performance and discover the deficiencies.”
Later, the organization also voluntarily started providing mental health and psychosocial services. Moreover, with the support of international NGOs like MDM, the organization has become, according to sources, able to provide mental, psychological and social health services to Syrian refugees and to the host community in Amman, Irbid and Zaatari camp. Then in 2014, the organization moved to Turkey and was registered there as a non-governmental organization, and began providing services in Turkey and inside Syria, placing among its hopes the building of a prosperous society whose members enjoy good mental and social health.
The organization provides mental health and psychological services and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in an integrative framework, by integrating these services with protection, nutrition, health, capacity building and other relief and livelihood services.
SBF works to protect and empower women, children and youth. SBF provides high-quality capacity building services in all required fields that support the realization of its vision.
According to the source, the beneficiaries are the vulnerable group and they are categorized as follows:
- Children and women.
- Survivors of gender-based violence.
- Children who survived attacks.
- Torture survivors.
- Persons with mental and physical disabilities.
- The elderly.
- Those who experienced violence, scenes of death and trauma.
An honorary session for civil defence personnel in Syria
Regarding the quality of the services provided by the work team to the male and female beneficiaries, 66.2% of them rated the quality as excellent and good, while 22.5% considered it medium quality, and 11.3% rated it as not good. On the other hand, 56.3% voted that they benefited from the provided capacity building services, and 42.5% voted in favor of mental health services provided to them, while the administration indicated that they do not provide financial and nutritional services to the beneficiaries.
SBF administration commented on this by saying: it is a positive thing that the majority consider our work to be good. It needs to be improved, and this of course is linked to the availability of external support, which is unfortunately beyond our control as an organization. As for the remaining percentages, we need more information on the unclear services or the difficulties that prevent their access to them.
Regarding the demands and needs, 75% of the total of participants demanded from the organization to increase the services provided to them, while 13.8% called for clarification of services, and 16.3% voted in favor of facilitating the access to services.
The party in charge believed that these are important percentages and they require us to follow more closely. Maybe we have to develop a complaint mechanism in our organization so that we discover cases of discrimination that occur while providing our services. If you have any examples of this, we are interested in knowing them. As for the issues of education and health, they are outside our speciality and are handled by other organizations.
The transparency of the administration and the beneficiaries was at its highest. Here, we present part of the statistics process, as 10% of the participants voted in favor of their request to the organization to stop discrimination, and 65% called for increased attention in the health field, and 66% voted for increasing capacity-building services.
A training workshop for the Syrian Intellectual Forum team
“Syria Bright Future” is a Syrian organization working in the field of mental health to serve refugees in neighbouring countries. It is specialized in the areas of “mental health, psychological support, protection, capacity building.” There are specialists within the organization’s team, like doctors and psychotherapists who are experts in caring for and documenting cases of torture and sexual violence. There is also staff who is qualified in self-care and staff welfare.
This human rights story was produced with the support of JHR “journalists for human rights” organization and Donner Canadian Foundation.