January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019
Refugee youth are the gateway to peace in their communities. Education is all they need to prosper.

Co-Founder’s message

2019 was an eventful year marked by the addition of six VIP.fund board members and youth advisors, a partnership with Project Turquoise, and launching the Syria Digital Lab. We remain on-mission with 100% of donor funding going to our beneficiaries, funds transfer to education partners to guarantee financial transaction integrity, and our growth is slow and steady, giving ample time and attention to both scholars and entrepreneurs.

Our new board members are bringing structure and helping us align our internal policies and procedures with our mission; our youth advisors are guiding us to remain relevant among our beneficiaries and young donors.

The Project Turquoise partnership took edSeed into Zaatari camp where a steady stream of students are being trained on crowdfunding for their higher education. The Syria Digital Lab introduced a new segment of beneficiaries and volunteers into our community: Syrian tech entrepreneurs and mentors who were eager to support them.

We are excited about 2020 and the potential impact we will have on our community of beneficiaries. With the support of our committed donors, volunteers and creative advisors, we will continue building on our three main programs, edSeed, VoxVisio, and the Syria Digital Lab, venturing into new ones to bring our community closer together. Starting this month, we will launch a series of online sessions to connect our globally diverse community in a virtual Majles (town-hall) format to exchange ideas, share experiences, and support requests and services.

We look forward continuing our journey to support youth impacted by conflict through technology and a dedicated community of volunteers and donors. We welcome your support and involvement.

Rama Chakaki

The VIP fund is a youth-focused venture philanthropy fund, established in 2015 as a USA 501c(3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to empower youth impacted by conflict through education and employment. To serve these displaced scholars, we run e-learning programs, crowdfund for their higher education, and partner with mentors and institutions who further our beneficiaries' employment prospects. In addition, we build or invest in technologies that serve our cause.


Provide online personalized mentorship, education, and career counseling

A digital platform to journal their journeys as students and entrepreneurs

Build a virtual network of supporters around each individual student or entrepreneur

Lobby on behalf of youth refugees with educational institutions and global policy makers  

Transforming loss to legacy - 2 years later, Ammar Al-Shami’s fund grows!

Two years ago I reached out to pay my respects to Rasha, Ammar Al-Shami’s mother. A few days earlier, I had moved to Boulder Colorado, and was looking forward to meeting Ammar. Instead, I found myself dogsitting Ayala, his golden retriever puppy and reflecting on how I may console Rasha during this challenging time. 

Keeping a legacy alive - supporting Syrian refugee youth with disabilities

I have the fondest memories of my parents. Both were social activists, passionate about education and helping others who are less fortunate. My mother taught at a school for the visually impaired in Damascus, Syria. At the time, a person having a physical disability meant a life of emotional and social hardship. While they were offered compassion, the society wrote most people with disabilities off. My mother was one of those who saw them and was committed to support them. She took me with her to their after school program and had the sweetest stories to share about her work.

The importance of local talent in rebuilding conflict impacted communities

The "Rally 'Round the Flag" effect is a political science concept that loosely contends that events such as war and trauma unite people, giving rise to nationalist ideals and driving social cohesion. This however, does not ring true for the nearly decade-long conflict in Syria.

Why not?
The nature of the Syrian conflict is one that has divided its people of diverse religions and ethnic subcultures. This discord can be seen in communities both within the country’s borders and across the wider diaspora. From hostility amongst fellow Syrians in host countries to towns in rural Syria seeing segregation, the civil divide between its people is evident in social settings and economic distribution as well as other areas of community engagement. In order to prevent such a divide from transcending from one generation to the next, it is critical to empower today’s Syrian youth with the knowledge and skills needed to actively play a part in uniting their communities.

Project Turquoise Youth reunite with Zaatari youth online

A few years ago, a group of youth and their families traveled from DC to Jordan and visited Zaatari camp. They met with youth their age, found common grounds and committed to keep them in their minds and hearts.
A couple of years later, Project Turquoise (PT) was established, and the DC youth and their families began funding the university education of four Zaatari youth colleagues through edSeed.

12 months of activities and giving for the edSeed higher education community

2019 was the year we began living up to our vision of building a higher education community to support students impacted by conflict. Each month came with a flurry of activities that supported our mission and grew our community. Here are a few highlights of the year:


edSeed logo

edSeed is an education community, with a crowdfunding platform at the center to fund the higher and continued education of youth impacted by conflict. We chose to focus on this demographic because with limited funding and guidance, they enter the job market, generate an income and support themselves, families and communities.

edSeed provides gap funding to:

  • Students who were attending universities when conflict erupted and who lost the economic means to complete their education
  • Refugee students who don’t have the economic means to pay for university
  • Youth impacted by conflict who want to continue education to earn an income (vocational, trade, web development, and other online training)

Syria Digital Lab logo

As the Syrian conflict threatens to tear society apart, the digital space offers the prospect of bringing Syrians together. Syria Digital Lab aims to explore this space—its opportunities, risks and potential—to create an effective digital ecosystem that identifies, connects, incubates, accelerates and sustains Syrian-led digital initiatives. Syria Digital Lab brings together talented Syrian tech developers and entrepreneurs from around the world and links them with donors, civil society organisations and the private sector in a collaborative effort that help solve some of Syria’s most pressing challenges.

VoxVisio logo

A 6-week webinar series where participants build a media startup / online publishing platform, create content to share stories from their communities, and distribute them on social media. The program caters to participants with varied interests (Graphic Design, Photography, Web Development, Storytelling, Marketing and Videography). It is based on a successful social publishing model that the Raseef 22, Huffington Post, AJ+, BarakaBits, and other online media sites created. 


In 2019, we ran a 6-week program with over 60 Syrian journalists, journalism students, English literature students, media designers, and developers from the northern part of Syria and Turkey. The program aimed at upgrading the skills of those already in the field and introducing others to social publishing.

We continued to support our 2018 cohort on their publishing platform Leddat.com

Leddat Members


Thank you for investing in quality education for all. We can’t do this work without you.

2018/2019 Donations

edSeed Beneficiaries

New Donors

Donated Time Value by Year

Donated Hours by Project

Cashflow 2019


Donors $10,000+
Muna Issa AlGurg
Donors $1,000 to $9,999
Bassam Barazi
Heba Barazi
Feras ElSadek
Marty Hogan
Dr.Eyad Nashawati
Dr.Danya Kafri
Hani Qattan
Omar Qattan
Majda Sibay
Salma Nassar
Ghalia Qattan
Aboudi Odeh
Donors $500 to $999
Tala Odeh & Peter Gulin
Samar Alami
Omar El-Quqa
Nada Kanaan
Maha Rinaudo
Sid Chebib
Nasser Youssef
Anonymous Donors
Recurring Donations
Samer Chamsi-Pasha
Joumana Jabri
Amir Abedrabo
Mohannad Sweid
Mazen Hasna

Board of Directors
Rama Chakaki
Rasha Ajalyaqeen
Mai Barazi
Gail Maria Vignola
Malik Al-Abdeh
Junior Board Members
Amir Abedrabo
Mustafa Ajlyakin
Heba Salem
Operational Team
Anas Bakro
Heba Oarby
Maher Jado

Brian David
Tala Odeh-SDL
Bilal Alobid-SDL
Eyad Kantakji-edSeed
Jad El Khatib-edSeed
Halima Sabra-edSeed
Abdullah Almosa-edSeed
Abeer Albashiti-edSeed
Project Turquoise-USA
Unite Lebanon Youth Project-Lebanon
Bareeq Education-Jordan
AlZarqa University-Jordan
Enas Khansa-Raseef22
Dr. Ramzi Salti-Stanford
Malaz Madani-Arageek

Other Supporters
Reem Attasi
Helen Rosenfelde
Advisory Council
Omar Chakaki
Medea Nocentini
Luma Saqqaf
Fadi Bshara
Wael Doukmak
Mona Shehab
Jamil Wyne
Brenda Kassir
edSeed Advisors
Zohair Abu Shaban
Samer Hamwi
Hafez Shurrab
Soumaya Difallah