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Community Empowerment : Hand in Hand for Syria’s nursing training project

Thursday, September 4, 2014

As the war in Syria continues, the disruption to the daily life of Syrians has stretched far beyond the repercussions of daily airstrikes and limited resources. Many refugees and internally displaced people find themselves stranded far from their homes, with their prospects of a future career or studies virtually non-existent. This only adds to the immense mental stress they face as a result of the ongoing crisis in Syria.

In a first for Hand in Hand for Syria, we teamed up with an INGO to launch a training programme for 30 women who are displaced inside Syria. The training programme aims to provide women with opportunities to acquire skills  that may be used to create a source of livelihood in the long term.

We carried out a poll in refugee camps, asking men and women what life skills they were interested in learning and what would benefit them in the future. Unanimously, the women showed a massive interest in training to become nurses.

Over the course of a few weeks, Hand in Hand for Syria and the INGO collaborated to find candidates who they felt would benefit from the  training sessions the most. Women who came from disadvantaged backgrounds; for example women who were unable to complete their studies due to responsibilities in taking care of their families –  or who previously had no exposure to opportunities to acquire skills to form livelihoods, were given preference.

The candidate selection process lasted a few weeks. At the end of which, thirty candidates were chosen for the course. Twenty of the women came from refugee camps in Syria, the remaining ten candidates were internally displaced women. A Medical Coordinator put together a teaching package that covered various aspects of nursing work, and aided with donated medical equipment, the students were to be taught how to perform basic patient care.


A safe location was chosen for the training course, and classes began. The first part of the training, which covers the syllabus laid out by the medical coordinator is mostly classroom-based and will last  a total of three months. The students meet five times a week, for four hours a day, to learn basic nursing skills.

At the end of the three month period, the students will be presented with a skill book which contains a list of the skills the students should have acquired through the initial three month training period in the classroom.

The students will then be split into groups of 3 or 4, and placed in different hospitals run by Hand in Hand for Syria, to demonstrate their newly acquired nursing skills and provide them with the opportunity to have a “hands-on experience”. The students’ placement in the hospitals will last a further three months, at the end of which, certificates will be presented to the students who have demonstrated their ability to perform their newly acquired skills.

We will continue to follow the stories & progression of the students on this course, here on our blog.