The ‘Arab Spring’ reached Syria in March 2011 but has been resisted by President Assad’s regime ever since. Protests have been met with a brutal response from the country’s security forces, and civilian populations have been attacked with heavy weaponry. Most noticeably in the Baba Amr district of Homs.
Over 18,000 people are estimated to have died since the violence began, and hundreds of thousands have fled over the borders as refugees into Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. The Syrian army has fired upon its own people trying to leave the country and it is believed they have laid landmines to deter them.
Stories are emerging of children being detained, tortured by, and even used as human shields by the security forces/ It is estimated that almost 1,000 children have been killed in the conflict so far.
What we're doing
War Child has staff on the ground in Lebanon – where many of the refugees from Syria have fled. Homs is only 25 miles from the Lebanese border, and many families who were besieged in their homes by the shelling and snipers have escaped into Lebanon.
Many of the refugees have been integrated with the local community and are staying with families rather than in refugee camps. Being dispersed makes it harder to provide services for them. Yet most fled with little more than the clothes on their backs and now find themselves needing to pay for their rent and food.
It’s a bewildering and scary time for many of the children. They really need a routine and a sense of normality. Spending time with each other in a safe, nurturing environment is a great way for children to cope with the stress and upheaval that’s going on all around them.
Creating child-friendly 'Safe Spaces'
So far we've established six 'Safe Spaces' in schools in northern Lebanon and we're supporting almost 300 children. Our trained counsellors will use art and music therapy as a means of helping the young children express their emotions in a healthy way.
Helping children to get back into school
We’ll help 400 children enrol into schools in Lebanon so they don’t miss out on their education. We’ll be providing catch-up lessons to help them follow the local curriculum.
If and when it is safe enough for the children and their families to return to Syria, our projects will follow them back home and help them reintegrate back into their schools and communities.
Please support our Children of Syria Appeal.
“We were inside the car waiting for my Dad when the rocket fell... I recognised his boots”