New report by Syrian refugee children reveals fear, violence and uncertainty in host countries; challenges world leaders to end three years of conflict
- Syrian children call for more international pressure to end conflict in new, child-written report
- Key findings reveal fear of violence, bullying, financial insecurity and child marriage
10 March 2014, Amman - A new report, written and researched by refugee children three years after the beginning of the Syrian conflict, reveals children are burdened by financial insecurity, physical and verbal abuse and increasingly uncertain futures.
In the report, supported by international agency World Vision, the children found that 86 percent of their peers have been exposed to violence in their new communities.
“We fled the flames of war, only to find ourselves surrounded by danger, explosions, kidnapping, and theft."
“We fled the flames of war, only to find ourselves surrounded by danger, explosions, kidnapping, and theft. We are unable to live peacefully. We live in constant fear that something will happen and affect our life or hurt us,” the children write in Our uncertain future, launched today.
Directing the findings to “the organisations and countries supporting our cause, who are capable of making a difference” and “every person in this world”, the children call on the international community to “help us and end this crisis”.
They also ask the communities who are hosting them “to accept us until this crisis is over”.
The research was conducted in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, and Irbid, Jordan, during January and February. Through group discussions and interviews, 140 children aged between 10 and 17 years old identified their most urgent problems and provided recommendations to help solve them. The findings were written up by a small group of writers elected among the children. Their words, aside from translation from Arabic into English, have not been altered.
“Our fears grow day by day that the war will rage on, that destruction will intensify, and that we will lose many of our friends and relatives who are still under fire in Syria. What we fear most is our uncertain future. We are afraid we may never go home.”
The report references child marriage, financial insecurity and bullying as key concerns for children. It also mentions racism and sectarianism. The authors say: “We would never have known the meaning of these words if it were not for this crisis.”
They also, however, make it clear that they experience great generosity from their new communities.
World Vision is presenting today’s report to governments around the world urging them to listen and act on the calls made.
Conny Lenneberg, World Vision’s Regional Leader for Middle East and Eastern Europe, said: “Behind the violence and the politics, a generation of children is doing its best to grow, learn and develop in the midst of continued uncertainty. Soon, these children will be adults, responsible for rebuilding the country they love. They’ll be asking us why we did not do more – in fact they are already are.”
For interviews, or to obtain accompanying video material, please contact Meg Sattler, Regional Syria Crisis Communications Manager, World Vision International, on +962 778 687 784 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
- Almost 5.5 million children inside Syria and across the region are affected by the three-year conflict.
- A coalition of agencies – UNICEF, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Mercy Corps, Save the Children and World Vision – has launched No Lost Generation a campaign to prevent a lost generation in Syria. To join the public appeal, go to:http://bit.ly/nolostgeneration
- World Vision has so far supported close to 120,000 people with water, sanitation services, household supplies and healthcare in Syria and is providing assistance to 320,000 Syrian refugees and impacted host communities across Lebanon and Jordan, with a focus on the protection and well-being of children.