At The Start Of A Fourth Year Of Crisis In Syria, Here’s Where To Begin Teaching
A lesson on this crisis can be difficult to begin: How do you explain the magnitude of the civil war that has forced millions of people to flee home, many of whom have poured out of Syria into neighboring countries?
The magnitude of the need for food is immense—in February, WFP dispatched food for 3.7 million people inside Syria, and roughly 40,000 metric tons of food is moved throughout the country monthly. In addition, WFP is providing critical assistance for nearly 1.5 million refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. However, a deteriorating security situation and limited funding has left still another half million without food assistance. Here are several WFP resources to help you introduce this critical situation to your classes.
Latest Public Service Announcement
Since the beginning of the crisis, WFP has been on the ground in Syria working to get essential food to the millions in need. The latest WFP public service video sums up the situation and shows the faces of those impacted. This 30-second video could serve as a great intro to your lesson. Watch it here.
WFP maintains a “crisis page” for Syria with updates from the news media, social media and from WFP's own website providing lifesaving food assistance. Watch videos and see photos here from our work on the ground in Syria and in neighboring countries. In addition, this resource could help introduce the different ways WFP is providing vital food assistance. For example, there are photos and videos from direct food distributions and from the start of electronic voucher programmes for refugees. Find the page here.
Help students visualize the extent of the situation in Syria by showing WFP’s crisis map. The interactive map allows you to pick and choose what information you see—the people WFP is reaching inside Syria, the refugee camp locations, distribution points and more. Find the map here.
WFP has a playlist of videos on YouTube focused on Syria. From this video on the amount of bread handed out daily at Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan to this one with Executive Director Ertharin Cousin meeting displaced families in Damascus, each helps to introduce situations faced across the crisis. See the entire playlist here.
Stories from the Field
The most effective tools in sparking an interest in the crisis in Syria may likely be the stories of people who are receiving essential food assistance from WFP. For example, Aziz and his family fled Syria for Iraq and have now returned to Syria again, though still displaced from the place they call home. With little options for work and money, Aziz relies on WFP food assistance to feed his family. Or take Ali. He fled with his family to Lebanon and is now the sole provider for his family and that of his brother, who disappeared after violence reached their town. Ali was one of the first refugees to receive an e-card from WFP, which allows him to purchase the food he wants, when he wants from local shops.
Their stories, plus many others, can be found here.
Have you already begun introducing the situation in Syria to your classes? Let us know how at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Above photo: Aziz carries his youngest son Ahmed. Photo: WFP/Hussam Al Saleh)