A young child from Syria stands amongst the tents in a refugee camp in Iraq
02 July 2021

Why should we help Syrian refugees?

About Syria’s refugees and how to help

Who are Syrian refugees?

Imagine if tomorrow, the street behind you was bombed. The next week, the local primary school was destroyed. Would you feel safe? Would you feel able to go to work each day? Or would you want to get out of the area as quickly as possible?

What of your job? Your children’s toys and friends? Could you leave your property behind – your business, home, family photos?

No-one decides to uproot their family and abandon everything they’ve ever known lightly. But, according to UNHCR, despite the coronavirus pandemic people are being forced to flee their homes and search for refuge in record numbers.

A substantial amount of this is due to ongoing conflicts and crises, like the war in Syria.

A Syrian girl looks into the camera. The text beside her reads "Life expectancy for Syrian children has decreased by 13 years since the war began."
Life expectancy for Syrian children has decreased by 13 years since the war began

During 10 years of war, an estimated 55,000 children have been killed.

Half the population (almost 11 million people) have run for their lives, leaving property, careers, family and friends, to escape the bombs and snipers that have destroyed whole neighbourhoods.

About 40% of those displaced, both in Syria and beyond, are children, according to latest UNHCR figures.

Today, Syria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child.

"You should ask if there is anything that isn’t scaring me! Being uneducated scares me the most, as well as having an unknown future." Lara, 17

Where do Syrian refugees go?

Between September 2015 and February 2021, 20,000 refugees from Syria have been welcomed to start new lives in the UK.

But UNHCR estimates 6.2 million people have moved within Syria, and about 5.6 million have left the country, most now in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

While they are away from the violence of war at home, they now face new challenges:

  • Their property and businesses are now gone, forcing them to start again from scratch.
  • In some places refugees are not allowed to work – so they can’t provide for their families.
  • Demand for housing has allowed landlords to raise rents – forcing many families to share small spaces.
  • Children may not get places at schools in their new homes. And if they do, classes will be in a foreign language.
  • Children living in insecure accommodation, with families unable to earn a living and no schooling are losing their childhoods, while their future opportunities shrink by the day.

This has been daily reality for 10 years now. But, it doesn’t have to stay this way.

How can I help Syrian refugees?

What difference can I really make?

Find out more