The early childhood stage is a critical period for children’s rapid development and sensory perception. It is during this time that nurturing their physical, cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and overall potential becomes paramount. During crises and disasters, providing holistic support for young children and their caregivers is vital. In Northwest Syria, the Ahlan Simsim project has been making a significant impact in this regard, integrating early childhood support services within educational and medical settings. Let’s explore the achievements and impact of Ahlan Simsim in empowering caregivers and promoting early childhood development during adversity.
Through the Ahlan Simsim program, over 128 caregivers, including parents and other caregivers, and 48 boys and girls were directly reached through the “Be Prepared, Be Strong” and “Despite Everything, Be Strong” programs during the month of March in the current year. These initiatives were part of the emergency response plan for the earthquake, supported by WATAN The goal was to help families and children overcome the disaster, build resilience, and adapt to the challenging new conditions.
Moreover, Ahlan Simsim indirectly reached over 241 children by targeting their caregivers with activities that promote emotional, social, linguistic, and physical development in schools and camps across Kafr Lousin, Sarmada, and Qah. The project team, led by Firas Jumaa, the training coordinator, emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach to early childhood development that starts with supporting caregivers during the prenatal period and extends to comprehensive services for early learning, stimulation, health, nutrition, and emergency response care.
The Ahlan Simsim project in Northwest Syria made significant achievements in 2022. Through the Families and Home Visits program, 2,850 caregivers were directly targeted through impactful sessions. Additionally, 780 caregivers were indirectly reached through WhatsApp groups, providing valuable parenting support. The Ahlan Simsim Friends program targeted 804 children, fostering their development through engaging initiatives. Furthermore, 6,158 children were indirectly impacted by directly targeting their caregivers, amplifying the project’s impact on early childhood development.
Ahlan Simsim’s efforts to promote early childhood development also extend to educators and healthcare workers. A total of 62 teachers, both male, and female, have received specialized training on promoting and supporting children’s development in the early childhood stage within schools. Additionally, 16 workers in medical centers have participated in a comprehensive training workshop on integrating early childhood support services within medical settings. These initiatives are crucial in equipping educators and healthcare workers with the skills and knowledge needed to provide effective care and support to young children, even in challenging circumstances.
“We believe that the holistic approach to early childhood development, encompassing comprehensive support for caregivers and optimal growth and well-being of the child, is fundamental,” says Firas Jumaa, the training coordinator of Ahlan Simsim. “Our initiatives start during the prenatal period and extend to early learning, stimulation, health, nutrition, and emergency response care. Through our programs, we aim to empower caregivers and parents with the necessary skills to support the development of young children, despite the adversities they face.”
“I have witnessed the remarkable impact of Ahlan Simsim in empowering caregivers and promoting early childhood development,” says one of the teachers who underwent the training. ”
In conclusion, the Ahlan Simsim program in Northwest Syria has been significantly impacting early childhood development through its comprehensive and holistic approach. By targeting caregivers, including parents and teachers, and providing them with parenting skills and training on promoting children’s development, the program has, directly and indirectly, reached thousands of caregivers and children.
As we look ahead, WATAN’s education sector remains committed to supporting caregivers, parents, and children during the crucial early childhood stage, and continuing to provide comprehensive services for early learning, stimulation, health, nutrition, and emergency response care. With the continued support of donors, supporters, and global organizations, WATAN aims to make a lasting and positive impact on the lives of children in Northwest Syria, helping them reach their maximum potential and thrive despite their challenges. Together, we can create a brighter future for the children of Syria.