By Syrian Voice Staff and Avery Edelman

A new humanitarian project launched in southern Syria last week with the aim of providing educational supplies and food baskets to 500 families in need.

The project, called Nutrition and Noor [the Arabic word for light], will be implemented by the Ahl Horan Aid Association, a community-based group in Syria’s Daraa Governorate, on the border with Jordan, in partnership with the Qatari RAF Foundation. Ahl Horan was founded in 2012 in order to “build and promote a cohesive society” among the residents of the region, according to the organization’s website.

Under the new project, Ahl Horan will provide an array of educational supplies to children in Daraa, including school bags, stationery and clothing. The association will also distribute 12 food baskets to 500 families over the course of a year, one basket per family per month, according to Ahl Horan’s Facebook page.

Mohammad, a spokesperson for Ahl Horan, told the Syrian Voice that through the provision of food baskets and school supplies the project intends to improve the situation for families in the area and thereby prevent children from dropping out of school.

In a country where poverty has skyrocketed over seven years of conflict, many Syrian families are faced with a choice of whether to feed their children or pay for the costs of an education, which include supplies and transportation to school.

More than 1.7 million children in Syria are currently out of school according to UNICEF.

In addition to the material costs, UNICEF notes a number of challenges to the pursuit of an education inside Syria, including child labor, the impacts of displacement and the fact that one of every three schools is out of use.