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Outstanding kids: the exceptional kids of Aleppo, Syria.

Eastern Aleppo is symbolic of the terrible war in Syria. Besieged for four years, the metropolis was the target of daily bombings and raids. Three hundred thousand were displaced, and 40,000 are dead – mostly women and children. It’s a humanitarian tragedy of unprecedented proportions.

Against this background, Asmar, a 28-year-old man who had lost part of his family, began to take care of the abandoned children he had found among the rubble and led to safety. In a bomb-proof underground shelter, the Moumayazoun (Arabic for ‘exceptional children’) Orphanage, funded by the Afkar Foundation, was born.

In the last months of the Aleppo siege, no more food or medicine – no resources at all – could be found. Despite the efforts of its staff, the children of the Moumayazoun Orphanage were in a desperate situation. The video recorded by the children at the orphanage has since been seen around the world: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/15/middleeast/aleppo-orphans-syrian-american-medical-society/

Finally, after difficult negotiations, evacuations began for the civilians trapped in eastern Aleppo. Among them were the 47 children and the staff of Moumayazoun, who were transferred first to the province of Idlib, and then to the Turkish border, a relatively safe area. Later, UNICEF opened a child protection centre in the building, which was renovated through the efforts of its staff and now welcomes other orphans and unaccompanied minors from the area surrounding Raqqa, a former Isis stronghold.

The children have gradually resumed attending school and doing sports and other activities that help them process the trauma they have undergone. Since December 2016, Nove Onlus has been following the progress of the orphanage. In February 2017, thanks to an appeal made to its supporters, Nove Onlus was able to donate a bus to Moumayazoun, providing them with the essential transport needed to quickly move the children and educators in case of need, and to carry out educational activities.

Assistance by Nove Onlus ended in February 2017, but the association continues to monitor the situation of the children and is in regular contact with Moumayazoun.

Operational partner: Afkar Foundation.
For more details, please contact the project manager, Saverio Serravezza. 

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