Syria’s Youngest Victims Speak Out
Russell Watkins/Department for International Development[/caption](KTEM) Today marks the third anniversary of civil war in Syria with a death toll of over 140,000, including more than 7,000 children.
After three years of heightened violence, Syria’s smallest voices — children living as refugees — are offering their solutions.
World Vision, an international nonprofit, invited 140 refugee children between ages 10 and 17 living in Lebanon and Jordan to report their greatest cares and concerns. The report was written entirely by the refugee children and can be accessed on the World Vision website.
Major concerns include violence and bullying in host countries, being forced into early marriages, begging on the streets for survival and being a burden on their parents and caregivers.
Above all, Syrian children fear an uncertain future: the demolition of dreams and loss of hope.
“We fled the flames of war, only to find ourselves surrounded by danger, explosions, kidnapping and theft. We are unable to live peacefully.”
After children leave war-torn Syria, they face more challenges as refugees. Refugees are required to have identification papers to live, work and go to school in host countries like Lebanon. However, many do not have these papers due to the speed of their forced departure.
If refugees are lucky enough to find work or go to school, they often face discrimination and violence from their host communities. Many turn to begging in the streets or early child marriages simply to survive.
Despite the struggle, Syrian children are offering their own solutions.
- They ask their host countries to provide legal support for refugees to be able to move freely.
- They ask for cooperation with NGOs and the U.N. to provide basic necessities like food, shelter, school and job opportunities.
- Last but not least, they ask the international community to pressure their governments to cooperate to end the crisis.
“At the end and after we’ve told our story and our suffering, we can only wish that Syria will go back to the way it was before." Syrian children said at the end of the report.
"We wish that Christians and Muslims will live in peace. We wish that all children will once again enjoy the rights of which they were robbed. We wish to go back to our country safe and sound to live a free, dignified life and build a prosperous future for Syria.”
After three years of hell, the children of Syria are ready for their voices to be heard.
To learn more about the conflict and what is being done to help the children of Syria visit here.