George Butler, reportage and war artist, founded the charity ten years ago in response to the Syria conflict, which he covered. As the eldest son of Sam Butler, it seems apposite to include George’s short item.

“Where does the money go?” A question we are asked regularly, and rightly so. Ten years ago when we started Hands Up, the few minutes we had to try and explain when meeting someone never felt like enough. It felt complicated and there was too much to say.

A decade into Hands Up’s work helping Syrians, it is the answer we feel most proud of and it is uncomplicated; the money goes to Syrian people in areas of greatest need, to make sure they have medical care and education. For many, a doctor, or a school to go to, is far from a given. Last week, I was in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, seeing just one of the places where the money goes.

Here is a short video for one of our projects:   (

The 14th of November was the first day of the school year and buses delivered 200 children from refugee camps to their classrooms. The school is run by our partner, SAWA, and the year will run until July 2024. The classrooms were full of anticipation on the first day back, a feeling I remember only too well. A few children turned up hoping they would be allowed to stay, even though they had not enrolled. This is how much education means to them, and this centre offers the only access to school they have. In each shipping-container classroom of English, Science, Arabic, Maths and Music, were the sorts of faces we see on our front pages, but this time grinning from ear to ear, desperate to say hello and keen to learn, even keen to answer their names when called for the register.

The first day of school is a cause for great celebration in the Bekaa Valley. However, it has become an intimidating date for our funding cycle. It marks the countdown to fundraise £250,000 for these children by this time next year. This keeps us up at night, especially at Christmas, and as winter sets in. Thank you for remembering Syria and please give generously so we can continue to take the register in Bar Elias. 

Donate here: (

George will be making a Presentation at Marlborough College 6pm 14th January. This talk is will be open to the public


See all images
cotswolds mist

Mrs Tucker June 2020

Butler Sherborn was a delight and pleasure to work with. Once again thank you so much for all you help and exceeding our expectations and much more.
— Nicki and Brian Lee