How to help Syrian refugees

The Syrian conflict began as a peaceful protest in March 2011, during the Arab Spring, but turned into a brutal civil war that has left more than 200,000 dead and caused as many as 10,000 people a day to flee the country. Those helping with the migration and resettlement of the nation’s 6.5 million refugees are overwhelmed.

Quartz has assembled a list of nonprofit organizations that support Syrian refugees by providing shelter, food, educational opportunities, medical supplies, emergency assistance, or general donations. The list is broken down by organization type: those that are large, international groups or umbrella organizations; those focused specifically on relief for children; those operating in Europe; those operating in countries neighboring Syria; and those with a religious affiliation.

If you prefer to give to large, international organizations:

  • Action Against Hunger (ACF) supports Syrian refugees in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon with clean water, hygiene supplies, food packages, kitchen kits to help them sell their own food, livestock management training, toilet installations in refugee camps, nutrition support for mothers and babies, and psychological services.

Donate to AMF here.

  • CARE International (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) has posts in the Balkans, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, and Syria to provide clean water, food, winter kits, information on legal and social support, psychological services, money for rent and essential items, and hygiene supplies. CARE runs community centers in Jordan, renovates drainage systems in Lebanon, and supports hospitals with equipment, water purification tablets, and medicine in Syria.

Donate to CARE here.

  • Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) offers medical assistance within Syria and in neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey, and also gives support to local hospitals in areas MSF staff cannot reach. MSF has two ships in the Mediterranean to rescue those fleeing by boat and has trained Tunisian fishermen to assist. In Europe, MSF has medical aid stations in Italy, Greece, Serbia, and Croatia.

Donate to MSF here.

  • Goal Global supports local bakeries to provide more bread, repairs water infrastructure and homes, provides vocational training, and delivers food, clean water, and winter kits.

Donate to Goal Global here.

  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) collaborates with local doctors for medical care and supplies, provides cash donations for families trying to pay for housing, food, and medicines, distributes meals and blankets, and supplements refugee camps with toilets, hygiene supplies, and water.

Donate to ICRC here.

  • International Medical Corps (IMC) provides physical and psychological health centers in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria and mobile medical units (MMUs) for refugees living elsewhere, distributes hygiene supplies and health education tips, and has a team of trauma-trained nurses and doctors.

Donate to IMC here.

  • International Rescue Committee (IRC) contributes medical aid, legal counseling, psychological services, United States resettlement coordination, education facilities, vocational training, rent assistance, food, and makeshift tents in Greece, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and also within Syria.

Donate to IRC here.

  • Karam Foundation aims “not to provide bandaids,” but technological equipment, microfinance grants, ambulances, psychological services, and art programs, in addition to the necessary distribution of food and infant formula and winter supplies.

Donate to Karam Foundation here.

  • Medical Teams International tries to prevent illness by monitoring common infectious diseases, distributing hygiene supplies, training volunteers to recognize symptoms, and providing primary healthcare and dental care.

Donate to Medical Teams International here.

  • Mercy Corps supports Syrian refugees by providing clean water, hygiene supplies, food aid, kitchen supplies, infrastructure renovation at refugee shelters, winter kits, psychological services, and vocational training.

Donate to Mercy Corps here.

  • OxFam (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief) provides clean water, winter kits, hygiene supplies, legal advice, medical assistance, toilet structures and makeshift shelters to Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. In Syria, OxFam is repairing water systems and is delivering water and other emergency aid.

Donate to OxFam here.

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) gives shelter and basic needs to refugees and coordinates logistics, such as the refugee registration process, with governments and local nonprofits.

Donate to UNHCR here.

  • World Food Programme (WFP) delivers nonperishable food staples to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt. WFP also supports sustainable farming, special nutrition for pregnant women, new mothers, and babies, and school meal programs.

Donate to WFP here.

If you would like to focus on relief for children:

  • Save the Children repairs Syrian schools, pays school fees and materials for Syrian refugees, trains and provides salaries to one thousand teachers, and provides basic services like water, clothes, psychological care, medical assistance, and food.

Donate to Save the Children here.

  • United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) vaccinates Syrian children, provides educational services and school supplies, helps construct schools, has child protection and psychological services, and delivers clothing, clean water, and food.

Donate to UNICEF here.

If you would like to focus on efforts in Europe:

  • Boat Refugee Foundation (Stichting Bootvluchteling) is a Dutch organization that provides emergency aid and supplies to refugees arriving by boat to Malta, Lesbos, and Kos.

Donate to Boat Refugee Foundation here.

  • Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) is a Malta-based organization that rescues those fleeing by boat, with a search-and-rescue team based by the Mediterranean Sea for Syrian refugees.

Donate to MOAS here.

  • Pro-Activa Open Arms is a Barcelona-based team of lifeguards stationed on the shorelines of the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios to help rescue Syrian refugees from capsized boats in the Mediterranean Sea.

Donate to Pro-Activa Open Arms here.

  • Project HOPE, which focuses on providing medicines and health education to disadvantaged people, ships medical supplies to refugee camps in Macedonia.

Donate to Project HOPE here.

  • Starfish Foundation works at the shorelines of Lesbos, Greece, to hand out dry clothes and food to those arriving to Europe and also has a central bus service to transfer Syrian refugees to a registration center in Mytilini.

Donate to Starfish Foundation here or through its Amazon wishlist here.

If you would like to focus on efforts in Syria’s neighboring countries:

  • American Refugee Committee (ARC) partners with local Syrian organizations to ensure proper sanitation, water, and hygiene infrastructures. ARC also helps build safe shelters in Syria and provides medical aid and community-building activities.

Donate to ARC here.

  • Basmeh & Zeitooneh, which means smile and olive in Arabic, was founded by Syrian expats in Lebanon to provide welcoming community centers in Beirut, Lebanon, and Gaziantep, Turkey, for medical assistance, vocational training, art workshops, and tutoring. Basmeh & Zeitooneh also gives food to those in need and helps families with rent.

Donate to Basmeh Zeitooneh here.

  • Collateral Repair Project, a Jordanian-based nonprofit founded by Americans, helps Iraqi and Syrian refugees with basic food and housing assistance, after-school programs for children, technology and English classes, and community building events and activities, since Jordanian law prohibits refugees from working.

Donate to Collateral Repair Project here.

  • Concern Worldwide operates in Lebanon, Turkey, and within Syria to improve sanitation and hygiene with clean water and clothing, provide winter kits and other shelter supplies, support formal education with a Syrian curriculum in Turkey and a Lebanese curriculum in Lebanon, and establish collective centers and psychological services.

Donate to Concern Worldwide here.

  • Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has posts in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan to assist in distributing food aid, winter kits, money for housing, vocational training, legal support, and psychological services.

Donate to DRC here.

  • International Organization for Migration (IOM) coordinates Syrian refugee resettlements to the US, Canada, Australia, and European nations.

Donate to IOM here.

  • Near East Foundation (NEF), a New York-based nonprofit, fosters economic stability by supporting small businesses, networking, and financial literacy, aimed primarily for female Syrian refugees.

Donate to NEF here.

  • Shelterbox, a British nonprofit that specializes in compact emergency kits tailor-made to a certain crisis, donates tents, shelter supplies, cookware, water filters, mosquito nets, and school supplies to Syrian refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Greece, and Syria.

Donate to ShelterBox here.

  • Small Projects Istanbul (SPI) is a Turkish nonprofit founded by Australians to encourage Syrian refugees in Turkey to continue formal education by providing scholarship funds. SPI also established a craft collective for Syrian women to give them financial independence and stability.

Donate to SPI here.

  • Support to Life (STL), an Istanbul-based nonprofit, provides Syrian refugees with food aid, winter kits, blankets, stoves, hygiene supplies, kitchen equipment, psychological and legal services, vocational training, and monthly stipends.

Donate to STL here.

  • Syria Relief is a British-based organization that provides medical aid, psychological services, clean water, food packages and their distribution, monetary and emotional support for orphans, school sponsorships, clothing, cooking utensils, and shelter essentials, such as mattresses and heaters, to Syrian refugees.

Donate to Syria Relief here.

If you prefer to give through religious organizations:

  • Caritas is an international Catholic organization with a post in Turkey that gives medical support, educational services, documentation and other legal assistance, and food aid.

Donate to Caritas here.

  • Convoy of Hope Europe (COHEU) works with Syrian refugees on the Jordanian border to give food aid, blankets, heaters and fans, and infant formula.

Donate to COHEU here.

  • International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) works within Syria to distribute food aid, infant formula, clothing, blankets, hygiene supplies, rent support, psychological services, school supplies, and vocational training.

Donate to International Orthodox Christian Charities here.

  • Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) provides emergency services such as food aid, clean water, dry clothes, and hygiene supplies, as well as translation consulting and map distributions for Syrian refugees in Italy, Serbia, Greece, and Germany.

Donate to IRUSA here.

  • World Relief is an international Christian organization that collaborates with local churches in Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Syria to distribute emergency supplies, temporary shelters, and psychological services. World Relief also coordinates refugee resettlement in the US and Germany.

Donate to World Relief here.

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