SYRIA – December 3 2019

Ghada finds peace and happiness in her new farmhouse

For six-years-old Ghada, life was never easy. Leaving her home with her family due to the clashes in Daraa city, was the beginning of her difficult journey. A journey which she went through with an innocent smile on her face that brought happiness to all her family members, even during the gloomiest of their days.

Ghada is the youngest child among her siblings, and she has Down syndrome. Since she was born, she received extra care and love from her parents, brother and sisters. However, everything suddenly changed in 2016 when her parents disappeared and left their kids alone without anyone to take care of them.

For many days, the children were in great danger before the police found them and took them to the SOS interim care centre in Damascus. When they arrived there, Ghada and her siblings were in a very vulnerable situation and needed intensive care before engaging them with other children in the centre.

Due to the lack of care centres in Syria that provide alternative care services to children with special needs, Ghada stayed with her siblings at the SOS interim care centre.


We were not expert in providing alternative care for children who have Down syndrome. However, we knew very well that the only possible solution was to keep Ghada with her brother and sisters

Child protection officer
Khawla Jabr

The SOS interim care centre, where Ghada and her siblings were hosted, was opened in 2015 to provide alternative care and protection for children, victims of the war for a short period, and to work on their reunification with their families. During the last three years, SOS Children’s Villages was able to reunify many children with their families and to move other children to SOS programmes that provide long-term alternative family care, like the SOS children's villages. However, Ghada and other 14 children had to stay in the centre, because they are differently-abled children that require special care.

To better help those children who need special care and intensive trauma therapy, SOS Children’s Villages Syria opened a new small group home for them in October 2019, which was intended to be a farmhouse. Since they moved to the farmhouse in Yafour area in Damascus rural, the children have started participating in different therapy workshops in the pedagogical farm. Moreover, they started going to a school and privet institutions specialized in providing educational curriculums for children with special needs.

“In her new home, Ghada found peace and happiness. She wakes up very early in the morning every day, to feed the chickens and to water the plants. She is even helping us in harvesting the olives from the trees.” said Joumana Ajlouni, the psychologist at the Yafour small group home.

Despite that Ghada does not live with her siblings now, she visits them regularly. She seems to be very happy and excited about her life in the farmhouse with the other children and SOS caregivers. In spite of being the youngest child among the others, Ghada was able to build a strong relationship with her new family in the last few years. A family with whom she shares her beautiful moment and contributes to her development.

The child’s name was changed to protect her privacy.