SYRIA REGIONAL CRISIS
The conflict in Syria is now sadly in its sixth year. With no end in sight, it has become one of the worst humanitarian crises of the 21st century. Since the start of the hostilities in 2011, OCHA estimates that over a quarter of a million Syrians have been killed and more than 1 million have been injured. The situation in Syria is heartbreaking, and it is deteriorating.
In 2016 13.5 million people, including 6 million children, remain in need of humanitarian assistance such as protection, shelter, water, food. As ever, it's children who are affected most by conflict. Those 6 million children have lost homes, friends, family members and seen or experienced violence that no child ever should. The devastating effects of this conflict could continue to ripple within Syria and the wider region for decades to come. According to OCHA, Syria's development situation has regressed by almost four decades. Four out of five Syrians now live in poverty and since the conflict began in 2011, life expectancy among Syrians has dropped by more than 20 years.
UNHCR estimates that as of June 2016 over 4.8 million Syrians – half of them children - have been forced to flee their homes and seek safety in neighbouring countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Which means that over 2 million Syrian children are growing up as refugees.
Another 6.5 million people have fled their homes, but remain in Syria, mostly in hard to reach regions. As the conflict lines shift and attacks on civilians increase, families are facing more uncertainty and fear.
People affected by conflict have the right to humanitarian assistance, including access to clean water, health care and food, and the right to protection from violent attacks. The thought of children scared by the sound of bombs and not knowing what tomorrow might bring keeps me awake at night.
- Wynn Flaten - World Vision's Syria Response Director
WHAT ARE WE DOING TO HELP?
In the face of the world’s worst refugee crisis in May 2011 we launched a massive response, in partnership with other agencies, to reach as many displaced Syrian children as possible.
To date, with your support, we’ve helped over 2.37 million internally displaced people and vulnerable Syrians living in host communities since the beginning of the response in 2011.
Our latest report from Syria shows how you have contributed to 'Bringing Hope to Forgotten Faces' in 2015.
Our work in Syria
We're helping children and their communities inside Syria through sustainable water and sanitation solutions, psychosocial support for children; household and winter supplies; hygiene kits and baby supplies and supporting the fractured healthcare services. Our child protection activities are also ongoing in 15 schools and three Child Friendly Spaces.
Our work in Iraq
We're working in the northern region of Iraq, with people who've fled their homes as the regional crisis worsens, bringing food assistance; drilling boreholes and upgrading water treatment
plants; establishing fixed and mobile clinics in areas with no health care; offering informal and
alternative learning opportunities for children and establishing a women’s centre to protect women and girls from violence.
Education: Learning and fun for displaced children in Iraq
Iraq’s education system is in crisis. Since the beginning of the current humanitarian crisis in Iraq, it is estimated that 5.7 million children need education support, including 2.7 million who are out of school in Syria and across the region.
In February 2015, we started the Let Us Learn project to support displaced children living in two camps and in host communities in the Dohuk area of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.Our Let Us Learn programme is not school based; instead, working alongside UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, we provide learning opportunities for children and young adults until school becomes possible. The programme includes learning spaces for 1,100 children, teacher training, a mobile reading room for literacy outreach and evening adult literacy classes.
Our research at the beginning of the project in April 2015 found that 67.5 per cent of children in the camps had missed between six and 12 months of schooling. By September, only 25 children in the camps were not enrolled in some form of learning. In the long term we hope that our centres will continue as schools within the government system.
Our Work in Lebanon
We're working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and with the local communities who are hosting them, providing e-card cash programming; municipal repairs and water and sanitation for households; and supporting children through educational and psychosocial programmes.
In Lebanon's Child Friendly Spaces
In addition to operating standard Child Friendly Spaces as a model for child protection in emergencies, we have also adapted the model in Lebanon to meet more long-term and deep-seated psychosocial support needs. The psychosocial support centres work with children referred by parents or the community because they are struggling to cope with the changes around them. The centres provide children with a 12-week cycle of psychosocial support and education to build resilience and restore confidence and self esteem. The courses culminate in community events where children share and learn information on child rights, online safety, gender-based violence and other protection topics. Focus groups with children attending psychosocial support centres or standard Child Friendly Spaces revealed that the children found the surroundings ‘beautiful’ and the activities and gifts – for instance, toothbrushes and soap – useful. After the course over 90 per cent of children share what they've learned with other children. In one instance we found boys were resisting pressure on them to work because of newfound child rights awareness.
Our work in Turkey
In 2015 we expanded our operations to support Syrian refugees in Turkey, particularly focusing on protecting and providing basic services to vulnerable groups including women and children in isolated and underserved areas.
Our work in Jordan
We're working alongside Syrian refugees in Jordan and with the local communities who are hosting them, providing remedial learning for school-aged Syrian and Jordanian children, helping nearly 3,000 children who might otherwise have dropped out of the school system. We're also providing extracurricular and psychosocial activities for children of all backgrounds. And we're working to ensure safe water, hygiene and sanitation facilities are available in local schools and the refugee camps.
How can I help?
You’ve helped so many. But in the sixth year of the conflict, humanitarian needs continue to grow, and more and more families need urgent support.
13.5 million people remain in need of humanitarian assistance – a twelve-fold increase since 2011 - including more than 6 million children who have lost homes, friends, family members and seen or experienced violence that no child ever should.
But they're still children. They deserve a childhood and hope for the future. So we're providing all the opportunities we can for them to overcome the past and, one day, build a future.
You can donate now to help these children and their communities.
We remain committed to supporting Syria's children until the crisis ends, allowing them to live in peace and dignity.
OUR WORK WITH REFUGEES IN EUROPE
In 2016, as neighbouring countries struggled to host almost 5 million Syrians escaping the war, over 211,000 people arrived in Europe, risking their lives in often unseaworthy boats. Tragically, around 2,800 are dead or missing.
Most worryingly children were travelling long distances, enduring hardships on their journey to find refuge. Forced to sleep outside, lacking proper sanitation and surviving on little food, children are particularly vulnerable to abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of violence along the route. We've been calling for the UK and other countries in Europe to ensure that unaccompanied children are given special protection.
At the height of the crisis, with funding from the UK government (DFID) and in partnership with the Start Network we helped at least 26,192 of the most vulnerable refugees travelling through Serbia in the following ways:
• We distributed winter items such as thermal blankets, hygiene kits, bags, socks, gloves and rain coats to 15,833 refugees to protect them from the cold weather.
• We established two Women and Young Child Spaces (WAYCS); safe spaces for breastfeeding mums, pregnant women and newborns. The centres provided services like psychosocial first aid to deal with the trauma they were running from, primary healthcare and advice to new mums. In total, 26,192 women and children attended the WAYCS. Additionally, 6,951 women and children received anti-stress kits, baby supplies and women's kits.
• 61children at high risk of abuse and exploitation were identified through the WAYCS and referred to the appropriate service providers.
• Our family room was considered as one of the most significant achievements in the project. This provided refugee families arriving from Macedonia with a family-friendly place for rest.
As the Balkans route is now mainly closed to refugees, we've stopped our operations in Serbia and refocused efforts in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Syria.
Ibrahim, an 8-year-old Syrian refugee living in Lebanon is forced to work on a farm to help support his family. This conflict is costing Ibrahim and many others their childhood.
We partnered with Frontier Economics to produce The cost of conflict for children report, evaluating the economic losses to countries affected by the conflict; helping to show what life might have looked like for children like Ibrahim had there been no war, and the likely impacts as it continues.
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Stories and Blogs
Simple things like giving children a safe place to run around and express themselves makes a huge amount of difference to refuge…
Fatima, 35, mother-of-six fled Aleppo for Lebanon in 2012. Her husband left her shortly after the war had started. Today, more t…
Inside a school in Lebanon’s Zahle, 30-year-old Suriya is trying to stop her 4-year-old son, Ahmed, from running around the room…
15 March 2016 will mark the fifth anniversary of the Syrian conflict. The conflict has quickly become the worst assault on children in a decade; the situation is becoming increasingly worse, with growing reports of violence and targeting of children.
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You can read more about the crisis and World Vision's response by downloading the reports below.
- Lebanon report: under pressure »
- Stand with me: children's rights, wronged »
- Stand with me: ending the war on Syria's children »
- Stand with me: our uncertain future »
- The cost of conflict for children: five years of the Syria Crisis »
So far you've helped us raise over £1,237,000 for those impacted by the war in Syria.
But as the fighting continues we still need more to help those children and families most in need.