ASML/Syria helped set up and build Akillica for Development, a Syrian grassroots development agency, to address the Syrian humanitarian and economic disaster.
A theater of multidimensional conflict, Syria today is a battered country with collapsing infrastructure and a destroyed economy. 13.5 million people need assistance, among them 2.7 million youths aged 15 to 24 years old. With 85% of the population living in poverty, Syrians lack every basic necessity. Water scarcity and the absence of power up to 18 hours a day greatly hamper the development of alternative livelihood opportunities. The disappearance of socio-economic infrastructure and social fabric weakens the coping mechanisms of the population. Broken families with barely any means of survival, and the loss of years of schooling, leave youths to fend for themselves. Reports show that 90% of the locations surveyed by the UN have experienced a proliferation of child recruitment by armed factions in Syria, making the youth, especially young men, an easy target.
However, many Syrians still in Syria have developed ideas and expertise and are looking to set up local innovative and cost-efficient initiatives to address the economic problems of their families and communities. Yet, they receive no support, as international development agencies work in a top-down manner and implement large and expensive programs designed in their headquarters. The beneficiaries, ordinary civilians, have no say.
Akillica believes that part of the solutions lies in the hands of Syrians themselves. Akillica’s mission is to provide the locals with logistical and financial support to achieve the change they want for themselves. Syrians have the key to their future; it is up to us to listen to them and support them.