as part of growing philanthropy

Ingie Chalhoub, President and Managing Director of the Etoile Group, Creative Director of Ingie Paris, returned from a visit to a refugee camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan to underline her growing commitment to philanthropy.

“I was really impressed at the resilience of these children and the work that UNICEF is doing to ensure that they go to school like any child anywhere and get an education that provides them with hope and happiness,” said Chalhoub.

“I had expected something entirely different from a community that fled the ruins of their homes in the Syrian civil war. But instead of sadness and despair, I found hope in the eyes of the thousands of children there. It was unforgettable.”

She and five others of UNICEF’s Dubai-based “Leadership circle” visited a refugee camp, schools and a vocational training centre to see how UNICEF Jordan has built programmes to try to ensure that the 340,000 child refugees from the Syrian conflict, now in its ninth year, are supported and nurtured at a critical time in their development.

The group supports and funds UNICEF work in the region’s many conflict-prone areas, trying to ensure that children are able to look to a future with some confidence by receiving education, protection and safety until they can return to their homes.

“We want to make sure that there is no lost generation of Syrian children so investment in their education and protection is absolutely critical so that they can contribute fully to society as adults and fulfil their potential,” said UNICEF Jordan Representative Robert Jenkins.

Chalhoub was deeply touched by the joy children showed in going to schools set up in the vast Azreq refugee camp, one of three set up by the Jordanian government with help from the U.N. and NGOs to shelter 340,000 children and their families.

The schools go from kindergarten to secondary level and there are so many pupils that they attend in shifts – girls in the morning and boys in the afternoon. The camp is well provided with a modern water and sanitation programme, electricity to every house and also boasts football pitches, shops and a supermarket.

“Jordan has welcomed refugees with open arms for decades, even though it is not a rich country and has few resources. We should all applaud Jordan for what it is doing on behalf of the international community and all humanity,” she said.

During her visit, Chalhoub was able to talk freely to children both in the refugee camp and in a Kindergarten in the marginalised Amman suburb of Baqaa, which has hosted tens of thousands of refugees from Palestine, Iraq and Syrian for decades. The school in this tightly packed area was improvised from a traditional two-storey Jordanian house with a rooftop play area with swings, slides and games, just like a typical Kindergarten anywhere in the world.

“I was struck by the sense of normality in this completely abnormal situation,” said Chalhoub. “I am looking at ways to lend my support to these people, especially to the young.”

Millions of children are suffering the consequences of the protracted crisis in Syria and Yemen. Years of war and conflicts are taking its toll on a whole generation of children who need support and hope. UNICEF is working to provide a brighter future for them and their families. If you want to support children in Yemen and Syria, you can contribute by making a donation today by clicking on this link Together we can make a difference.

Watch the full slideshow below