SPI’s roots lie in founder Karyn Thomas’s experiences in the Yarmouk Camp, an area of Damascus populated by Palestinian refugees, in 2011 and 2012.

Seeing how children and young people in Syria were missing out on schooling due to the war led Karyn to decide in 2013 to assist in the processing and sponsorship of one 17-year-old Palestinian girl to finish her secondary education outside of the country.

As Karyn shared her story with friends and family, people from all around the world made individual contributions to her education fund. This bright, capable young woman has now received a full scholarship to attend university in the United States.

This experience solidified Karyn’s belief that grassroots projects can indeed be effective, and that individuals can and do make a difference. From humble beginnings, engaging in various “small projects” to assist families from Syria living in Istanbul, SPI has grown into a thriving community center offering educational, social and livelihood support to families rebuilding their lives in a city of 15 million.

While the war rages on, SPI is helping to stop the downward spiral into unemployment and poverty that curtailed education and unemployment threaten to create for members of what is being called Syria’s “lost generation.”