World Vision International
Press Release • Wednesday, March 14th 2018

Syria’s children ‘at risk of never fully recovering', new study finds

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  • World Vision spoke to more than 1,200 children affected by the conflict
  • Focus and future funding of upcoming Brussels 2 Conference must go beyond just helping children to survive

World Vision spoke to more than 1,200 Syrian children, in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan over the month of February, to find out at what point daily stress factors will have an irreversible impact on their long-term emotional and physical well-being.

“Syria’s children are living in the midst of the most significant humanitarian protection crisis in living memory. We are failing to protect their lives, their childhoods and their futures.” says Jonathan Beger, World Vision Brussels’ Director of EU Advocacy. “While their survival is and should be the EU’s priority for the Brussels II Conference and beyond, we need to do more than just keep them alive. We need to give them their future back.”

More than 5.5 million Syrians have fled the country, half of them are children. Another six million have left their homes in search of safer spaces inside Syria, according to the UN.

World Vision’s report, Beyond Survival, illustrates how the conflict has dramatically altered children’s living environments and social structures.

The survey found that in Syria, 50 per cent of children have experienced domestic violence. In Lebanon, 39 per cent and in Jordan 15 per cent of children surveyed talked of violent discipline in the home. Of those who attend school in Syria, 42 per cent have witnessed violent discipline by teachers and other school staff.

Overcrowded housing is prevalent in all three countries, with over 70 per cent of children surveyed living in such conditions. These children are twice as likely to experience violence at home.

“These are the very places children should be and feel most safe,” says Beger. “Instead, children are not only experiencing their own stress but also often bear the brunt of family stress. Alarmingly, we found many children consider such ‘stressors’ to be a normal aspect of their new lives.”

The EU and its Member States should prioritise funding for education, mental health and psychosocial support programmes. Furthermore, the Brussels II Conference will be the opportunity for the EU and its Member States to renew efforts to fully fund the education of Syrian girls and boys. As of now, current donor funding for education is 50 per cent less than it was at this time last year.


Notes to editors

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. It works in close to 100 countries in most regions of the world including Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific Region.

For more information or an interview, please contact Ludovic Wahis, Policy and Communications Officer, World Vision Brussels & EU Representation, +32 (0) 2 274 18 67,