“New Horizons”.. An Emerging Association in Northern Raqqa

Activities targeting children in Ayn Issa in Northern Raqqa - January 2018 (Enab Baladi)

Activities targeting children in Ayn Issa in Northern Raqqa - January 2018 (Enab Baladi)


Rabi Abboud al- Sayah, a 9 years old boy, based in Ayn Issa Camp, is benefiting from the “New Horizons” Association’s activities. He says that he is studying in the childhood center: “We study and play. I wish to stay here for the longest time possible because it is more beautiful than the camp.”

“New Horizons” Association is newly formed and functions in Ayn Issa area in northern Raqqa, targeting the local community and the internally displaced people with many activities, which it started at the end of the last year and still continues to the day. The most prominent activity is “Safe Childhood” that provides children with psychological support.

Ayn Issa camp incubates more than eight thousand people, who have been displaced from the city of Raqqa and its countryside and who are suffering from a shortage of food and medical substances, in addition to the “randomness” of the offered services.

Ameen al-Salameh, a member of the Association and the head of the psychological support project, speaks about activities and events that aim to empower children socially and psychologically, pointing out to the importance of understanding the children who the war has distanced from schools, through eradicating their illiteracy and rehabilitating them in preparation for going back to schools.

The Association is carful to spread awareness in Ayn Issa camp in particular, through a specialized team, that “complements the center’s work,” as al-Salameh told Enab Baldi, stressing the importance of “cooperation between local and international organization that show concern for children.”

The first phase of the eradicating illiteracy among children started in October 2017 and included 193 children, who successfully finished the program last January, according to al-Salameh, indicating that the second phase shall start in early February, with 174 children, to end early next April.

The Association’s staff is planning to initiate a department for children with hearing and speaking impairments, to be run by reading and writing specialists, according to the project’s manager.

In the first place, the project targets orphans, according to Nisreen Aroudah, who works for the Association. She told Enab Baladi that the project is contextualized by a desire to participate in developing the orphans’ skills and enhancing their presence in the social and cultural life, “to be active in establishing the principles of democracy and freedom.”

The Association have sponsored activities that have a different nature, such as decorating the city of Ayn Issa and erasing the features of the “Islamic State” (ISIS) from its neighborhoods, under “Hand in Hand, We Clean It” project, which targeted four sectors in the area and is still going on, in addition to fixing road signs and drawing awareness murals, according to Aroudah, who pointed out to plans for projects that aim to serve society and develop its abilities in the upcoming days.

Ahamad Ali Khalaf, based in rural Ayn Issa, said that the clean-up project, to the day, targets “Ayn Issa and its countryside, and the villages in the east, Raq, Karmazat and Ali Bajliyah,” pointing out that the project “contributed to minimizing the effect of the diseases caused by the accumulating trash since years.”

Thee Association describes itself as a none-profit civil society organization, that has been established in 2017, and concerned about the development of the local community, through projects that help in overcoming the state of war, in addition to activities that target children, according to its management.

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