Unlocking Potential: Sesame Project’s Journey of Empowerment for Children with Special Needs in Northern Syria – WATAN

Unlocking Potential: Sesame Project's Journey of Empowerment for Children with Special Needs in Northern Syria

The plight of families fleeing conflict and seeking refuge in overcrowded camps in Northern Syria is heart-wrenching. Amidst the challenges of displacement, lack of educational support, and limited resources, children with special needs face additional barriers to their healthy growth and development. However, amidst these dire circumstances, a beacon of hope shines through the Sesame Project, implemented by WATAN in cooperation with the International Rescue Committee. This story of impact showcases the transformative power of the Sesame Project, and how it is making a positive difference in the lives of children like Jihad, Shahid, and Marwa, and their families in the Siraaj camp in Deir Hassan.

Abu Jihad, a resident of the Siraaj camp, shares his family’s journey from the southern Idlib countryside, their displacement to Aqrabat, and then to Siraaj camp in Deir Hassan. Despite facing heavy burdens and pains, Abu Jihad works tirelessly as a laborer and guard to provide for his three children, including Jihad, Shahid, and Marwa, who suffer from a rare disease called cerebral atrophy. He expresses the challenges of taking care of his special needs children in the camp, where freedom of movement is limited, and their well-being is his constant priority.

The conditions in the camps in Northern Syria are challenging, with overcrowding, lack of educational support, and limited resources. Families like Abu Jihad struggle to find suitable education and relief for their children, especially those with special needs. The hardships of staying in tents for long periods of time take a toll on the physical, cognitive, and emotional development of the children, exacerbating the effects of traumatic experiences they have faced.

Amidst these challenges, Abu Jihad heard from family friends about the Sesame Project, an awareness project implemented by WATAN in cooperation with the International Rescue Committee, focusing on early childhood education and development for families and children in the camps. He was delighted when his children were admitted into the school. The Sesame Project has a multifaceted approach that aims to welcome children with special needs, promote their integration into the community, enhance parent-child interaction, increase caregiver capacity, and promote comprehensive development in cognitive, physical, social, and emotional domains.

Abu Jihad speaks passionately about the impact of the Sesame Project on his children. The joy he witnesses as his children play with other children is priceless to him. He finds strength and motivation in seeing the positive impact, kindness, and utmost care provided to the children through the Sesame Project’s children’s center. Abu Jihad expresses his heartfelt gratitude to the Sesame Project for restoring hope to his children and for the opportunity for them to thrive despite the challenges they face in the camp.

The Sesame Project implemented by WATAN in cooperation with the International Rescue Committee is making a tangible and positive difference in the lives of children with special needs in the overcrowded camps of Northern Syria. Through its comprehensive approach, the Sesame Project is promoting early childhood development, restoring hope, and facilitating the integration of these children into their communities. With the support of donors, supporters, and international organizations, the Sesame Project continues to be a beacon of hope for vulnerable children in crisis-affected areas, contributing to their well-being and building a brighter future for them.


A Vision for Change:

Our vision is a region where each child has access to quality education, regardless of the challenges they face. The environment should be safe with a focus on their well-being. With your continued support, we can turn this vision into a reality.


Thank you for standing with us in advocating for a brighter future for the children in northern and northwestern Syria. Together, we can continue making strides toward a world where education is accessible to all.

Wishing you a Happy World Education Day!

United for Education,