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“Among the many praiseworthy initiatives promoted by you, I would like to mention the great work this year to support the return of Christian communities to the Nineveh plain in Iraq, and the health care provided to so many poor people in Syria, in particular through the project “Open Hospitals”.
Pope Francis
Address of the Holy Father to the participants at the working meeting on the crisis in Syria and the neighbouring countries. Vatican City, September 14, 2018

Refugees and migrants around the world continue to be front and center of AVSI’s global fundraising efforts, with all donations channeled to direct assistance in countries of origin, transit and integration. 

Despite the continued hardship faced by thousands of refugees around the world today, we are beginning to see some glimmers of hope. Families are slowly returning home in a few places in Iraq and Syria. AVSI is privileged to be there to welcome them home with essential services such as child care and early education provided by a Kindergarten in Qaraqosh, Iraq, and with medical care provided by Catholic hospitals in Syria. 

Join us to make the journey home a reality for refugee families today. 



AVSI began working alongside the people of Qaraqosh, Iraq, in 2013. When the city was invaded by ISIS and people fled to Iraqi Kurdistan, AVSI set up a temporary kindergarten for 150 children from Qaraqosh in Ozal City, Erbil. In early 2017, when families started returning to their homes in Qaraqosh, AVSI decided to accompany them by offering support and assistance to the church supreme board for reconstruction of Baghdeda (BFCB), under the guidance of Fr. George Jahola. BFCB launched a comprehensive program to restore and develop the physical, educational, social and economic fabric of the city and its surroundings. One of the first accomplishments was the reopening of the “Baby Jesus Kindergarten”, destroyed by ISIS in 2013 and reopened at the end of 2017.

To accompany displaced families on their journey back to their villages of origin, ensuring a safe educational environment for the children in order to start again.

– supply and install furniture such as desks, chairs, benches, and blackboards.

– purchase school material and start didactic activities.
- distribute snacks for the children.
– organize activities such as games, sports, arts, crafts, music and dance.

– provide psychosocial support to families.

– organize training courses for 12 teachers on how to accompany children from an educational and psycho-social point of view.

– conduct information campaigns and awareness-raising activities on hygiene, health, protection, and human rights.
Beneficiaries: 2,000 people (400 children and their families) 



Open hospitals is a 3-year project spurred by Cardinal Mario Zenari, the Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, and designed and implemented by AVSI as a response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and particularly to the health care needs of the most vulnerable and affected by the war. 

To improve the operational capacity and the quality of care of three non-profit hospitals managed by religious congregations, the Italian Hospital and the French Hospital in Damascus and the Saint Louis Hospital in Aleppo. The initiative is helping the health facilities to expand their services and offer hospital level treatment and interventions to the most vulnerable free of charge.

– Establish a fully functioning social office in each hospital to certify the poverty status of those asking for treatment, and to serve as an advantaged hub for referral and psychosocial support.

– Provide important financial resources to each hospital to cover the costs of the additional personnel and the services provided free of charge to poor patients.
- upgrade medical equipment, security conditions and information and management systems of each hospital as needed.
​- train, as needed, the hospitals’ medical and administrative staff.

to serve at least 50,000 people during the 3-year period of the project.