Filling the gap

Since the Syrian Civil war started, Jordan has received some of the largest numbers of refugees. But because there isn’t enough international aid, the majority of them live outside UN-organized camps. The Syria Fund is a group of volunteers dedicated to helping these underserved refugees. One of their major initiatives is to educate the children, many of whom have missed years of school. The Fund builds classrooms, employs teachers, and provides resources dedicated to getting the Syrian youth in Jordan back on track. Founders Lexi Shereshewsky and Demetri Blaisdell lived in Damascus, Syria prior to the crisis. After moving back to the U.S. and seeing the country they loved fall into turmoil, they decided to help. They focused their efforts on this unmet need, giving children displaced by war the chance to integrate into Jordan and the opportunity for future success.

The Syria Fund

Getting Refugees Back In School

Filling the gap

Since the Syrian Civil war started, Jordan has received some of the largest numbers of refugees. But because there isn’t enough international aid, the majority of them live outside UN-organized camps. The Syria Fund is a group of volunteers dedicated to helping these underserved refugees. One of their major initiatives is to educate the children, many of whom have missed years of school. The Fund builds classrooms, employs teachers, and provides resources dedicated to getting the Syrian youth in Jordan back on track. Founders Lexi Shereshewsky and Demetri Blaisdell lived in Damascus, Syria prior to the crisis. After moving back to the U.S. and seeing the country they loved fall into turmoil, they decided to help. They focused their efforts on this unmet need, giving children displaced by war the chance to integrate into Jordan and the opportunity for future success.
Philanthropy

Grommet Launch Conversation

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Lexi & Demetri
    Lexi & Demetri

    Hello, we're Lexi and Demetri. We're the co-founders and executive directors of The Syria Fund, a charity that focuses on expanding educational opportunities for Syrian refugees in Jordan. Many thanks to our photographer & friend, Lucy Lyon, for providing imagery to help tell our story. We're excited to be featured on the Grommet and look forward to sharing more about the important work we do.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:49 PM

    What inspired you to establish TSF?

  • Lexi & Demetri
    Lexi & Demetri – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:56 PM

    Demetri: For me, The Syria Fund is almost as much about changing perceptions as it is about helping those in need. The almost year and a half I spent living in Syria was one of the best times in my life. Since the war has begun, colleagues and acquaintances in the U.S. tend to ask me about the violence, about the Islamic State, or about whether any solution can be reached. But each time I have those conversations, I think about what a incredible place it was to live, and the amazing people I met there. The Syria we knew was a wonderful place and it will be a wonderful place again. In the meantime, I feel like those of us who spent time there and came to love the people and the culture have an obligation to do whatever we can to help in this time of need. Lexi and I raised a significant amount of money in 2013 and went to Jordan to help distribute aid. But we decided to establish The Syria Fund because we knew we could significantly expand our efforts by organizing as a non-profit. I don’t think either of us knew how quickly we’d be able to raise so much money and make such an impact.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:57 PM

    What's been the most rewarding aspect of running TSF?

  • Lexi & Demetri
    Lexi & Demetri – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:57 PM

    Lexi: Obviously the most rewarding aspect has been being able to help Syrian families and to show them that so many people in America care about them.

    But something else that has been a bit unexpected has been the traction that our organization has had with children. We have a group of kids (ages 9-16) that have been helping us fundraise in their schools and communities. It is really inspiring to see the new generation take such interest in the world around them and feel so passionate about helping. I can't say that when I was their age I was quite as dedicated...

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 1:01 PM

    How do you manage the organization between New York and Jordan?

  • Lexi & Demetri
    Lexi & Demetri – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 1:03 PM

    We have visited Jordan twice in the last two years to create and strengthen relationships with qualified, dedicated partners working on the ground in Jordan. We believe in using our resources to help empower local organizations that are working tirelessly to support their communities and we've identified several that we currently work with. These include a volunteer-based group in Amman, Helping Refugees in Jordan (HRJ), the international humanitarian organization Mercy Corps, and a grassroots non-profit in Azraq Jordan called the South Azraq Women's Association (SAWA). From New York, we work closely with these local organizations to identify pressing needs - for example, building a classroom to allow 30 children to return to school after years of missed classes, or purchasing critically-needed items like food packages, warm blankets, or medical equipment.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 1:05 PM

    How do you hope to impact the lives of Syrian refugees?

  • Lexi & Demetri
    Lexi & Demetri – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 1:05 PM

    We hope to help bring back a sense of normalcy to these families who have lost so much. On a personal level, we want to show the Syrians that we meet that we care about them and that there are hundreds of families with us who also care and want to help.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

 

The Syria Fund

Getting Refugees Back In School

Filling the gap

Since the Syrian Civil war started, Jordan has received some of the largest numbers of refugees. But because there isn’t enough international aid, the majority of them live outside UN-organized camps.

The Syria Fund is a group of volunteers dedicated to helping these underserved refugees. One of their major initiatives is to
educate the children, many of whom have missed years of school. The Fund builds classrooms, employs teachers, and provides resources dedicated to getting the Syrian youth in Jordan back on track.

Founders Lexi Shereshewsky and Demetri Blaisdell lived in Damascus, Syria prior to the crisis. After moving back to the U.S. and seeing the country they loved fall into turmoil, they decided to help. They focused their efforts on this unmet need, giving children displaced by war the chance to integrate into Jordan and the opportunity for future success.
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They've missed years of school. Help them catch up.

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Lexi & Demetri
    Lexi & Demetri

    Hello, we're Lexi and Demetri. We're the co-founders and executive directors of The Syria Fund, a charity that focuses on expanding educational opportunities for Syrian refugees in Jordan. Many thanks to our photographer & friend, Lucy Lyon, for providing imagery to help tell our story. We're excited to be featured on the Grommet and look forward to sharing more about the important work we do.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:49 PM

    What inspired you to establish TSF?

  • Lexi & Demetri
    Lexi & Demetri – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:56 PM

    Demetri: For me, The Syria Fund is almost as much about changing perceptions as it is about helping those in need. The almost year and a half I spent living in Syria was one of the best times in my life. Since the war has begun, colleagues and acquaintances in the U.S. tend to ask me about the violence, about the Islamic State, or about whether any solution can be reached. But each time I have those conversations, I think about what a incredible place it was to live, and the amazing people I met there. The Syria we knew was a wonderful place and it will be a wonderful place again. In the meantime, I feel like those of us who spent time there and came to love the people and the culture have an obligation to do whatever we can to help in this time of need. Lexi and I raised a significant amount of money in 2013 and went to Jordan to help distribute aid. But we decided to establish The Syria Fund because we knew we could significantly expand our efforts by organizing as a non-profit. I don’t think either of us knew how quickly we’d be able to raise so much money and make such an impact.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:57 PM

    What's been the most rewarding aspect of running TSF?

  • Lexi & Demetri
    Lexi & Demetri – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:57 PM

    Lexi: Obviously the most rewarding aspect has been being able to help Syrian families and to show them that so many people in America care about them.

    But something else that has been a bit unexpected has been the traction that our organization has had with children. We have a group of kids (ages 9-16) that have been helping us fundraise in their schools and communities. It is really inspiring to see the new generation take such interest in the world around them and feel so passionate about helping. I can't say that when I was their age I was quite as dedicated...

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 1:01 PM

    How do you manage the organization between New York and Jordan?

  • Lexi & Demetri
    Lexi & Demetri – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 1:03 PM

    We have visited Jordan twice in the last two years to create and strengthen relationships with qualified, dedicated partners working on the ground in Jordan. We believe in using our resources to help empower local organizations that are working tirelessly to support their communities and we've identified several that we currently work with. These include a volunteer-based group in Amman, Helping Refugees in Jordan (HRJ), the international humanitarian organization Mercy Corps, and a grassroots non-profit in Azraq Jordan called the South Azraq Women's Association (SAWA). From New York, we work closely with these local organizations to identify pressing needs - for example, building a classroom to allow 30 children to return to school after years of missed classes, or purchasing critically-needed items like food packages, warm blankets, or medical equipment.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 1:05 PM

    How do you hope to impact the lives of Syrian refugees?

  • Lexi & Demetri
    Lexi & Demetri – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 1:05 PM

    We hope to help bring back a sense of normalcy to these families who have lost so much. On a personal level, we want to show the Syrians that we meet that we care about them and that there are hundreds of families with us who also care and want to help.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.