‘Until the last tent’: Syrian NGO gives houses to 500 displaced families

‘Until the last tent’: Syrian NGO gives houses to 500 displaced families
3 min read
28 January, 2022
In just five days, the Syrian Molham Team NGO raised enough money to provide houses for 500 refugee families in northwest Syria.
The success of the campaign was a bright spot in the otherwise dark winter for refugees in Syria [Molham Team]

The Molham Team, a Syrian-led NGO, has raised over $2 million to move displaced families who have been impacted by this winter’s heavy snows and brutal cold from tents in northwest Syria.

The fundraising campaign, dubbed #UntilTheLastTent, managed to move 500 Syrian families into homes that will insulate them from the worst of the harsh weather conditions.

"Our initial goal was to raise enough money to equip 100 families with homes – but we managed to hit that goal in the first day of fundraising, so we decided to raise the target from 100 to 250 families," Ahmad Abu Sha’ar, the director of programs for Molham, told The New Arab.

"We hit the second target in just three days, so we raised the target to 500 families," he added.

Abu Sha’ar said the response to the fundraising campaign was tremendous, with the Molham team raising the $2 million in under 5 days.

"Most of the donations came from individuals; half the donations were under $100," Abu Sha’ar said, adding that campaign contributors came from all over the world.

Molham’s success is a lonely bright spot in Syria’s dark winter. Media in the Middle East has been filled with images of Syrian children shivering in the cold, tents collapsed under the weight of snow, and news of families asphyxiating from coal or trash they tried to burn to stay warm.

"The success of the campaign hasn’t just given me hope, but has given hope to all Syrians, to the displaced," Abu Sha’r said.

"There are people who are seeing walls for the first time in their lives, there are families able to close a door for the first time, children who had never seen a window before. It’s given hope to people," he added.

One of the beneficiaries of Molham’s house distribution, Muhammad, used to live in a small tent with his sick mother and the six other members of his family.

His is one of the hundreds of families in similarly difficult conditions who will now be able to live in a home that will protect him and his family from the elements.

Northwest Syria is home to about 2.8 million displaced people, many of whom live in informal or substandard shelters, like tents or broken cinderblock homes.

Many have been displaced multiple times and have lived in camps for years, vulnerable to the elements and the indiscriminate bombing of Russian and Syrian regime planes that fly overhead.

According to a local emergency relief group, the Response Coordination Group (RCG), 90 percent of the camps in northwest Syria are past their designated lifespan.

The UN said on Monday that a quarter of a million people in northwest Syria are suffering from the effects of this winter’s heavy snows and freezing temperatures, and appealed to the international community to step in to assist.

About 2,300 of these individuals have been rendered homeless as a result of the storms in the past month.

While Molham’s campaign will warm some families through the winter, the group’s program director warned that its efforts are only a stopgap measure.

"The solution is not distribution of aid … the solution is a true change, the [IDPs] need to be returned to their homes," Abu Sha’ar said.