A little red love heart on the front door

By Suzy Sainovski, Communications Director, Syria Crisis Response

Rama’s face lit up when she told me about her school in Syria. “I liked maths at school. My teacher used to say I was so smart. Her name was Amina. I miss everything about my teacher. Sometimes she would braid my hair.”

10-year-old Rama, her mother and her two little sisters, seven-year-old Aisha and three-year-old Leen, fled Syria four months ago after a bomb hit their neighbour’s house in a village near Aleppo.

“I was so afraid for my children. My husband died in the war two and a half years ago, so it was just me and my children in the house when the bomb hit. After that we tried to escape to Turkey. We couldn’t cross the border the first time but then we tried again and we got across,” shared Rama’s mum, Banan, 30.

She went on to recount Rama’s tears on the journey to Turkey: “I want my dad, if he was here I wouldn’t feel scared.”

Banan and her daughters now live in a centre for women and children close to central Gaziantep in south eastern Turkey.

Alaa, a volunteer, manages five centres for women and children in Turkey, including the one Banan and her daughters live in. The centres provide accommodation, informal education and livelihood training for female-headed Syrian households. “We used to support families in need in Syria before the conflict started but the need really increased after it began,” shared Alaa.

Most of the school-aged children living in the centre are at school but as Rama and the rest of her family fled Syria part-way through the school year, she isn’t currently enrolled. The plan is for Rama to resume school at the beginning of the next school year in Turkey. “I want to be a hairdresser when I grow up,” enthused Rama.

Rama shared that she likes drawing and went to her room to retrieve a drawing she’d done a few days earlier. While she was gone I glanced around the large, sparsely furnished living room with paint peeling off the walls in parts, shared by a few Syrian families.When Rama returned she was clutching a drawing similar to the kind I've seen from many children, all over the world.

A house with a steep gabled roof and a chimney sat in a field of green grass with a tree in the front yard and a blue sky above, filled with fluffy clouds and the sun peeping through. Rama had drawn a little red love-heart on the front door. I asked if it was her house back in Syria.

“No, this house is from my imagination,” she replied.

When asked about her biggest hope, Rama replied, “It’s my dream that the bombs in Syria stop.”

The Syrian crisis is now well into its sixth year. During that time at least 250,000 people have been killed, with some independent Syrian organisations citing upwards of 450,000, among them up to 19,000 children. Approximately 11 million people have been forced from their homes. World Vision humanitarian responders are on the front lines of this crisis working in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq to bring aid and hope to children, families and communities. You can help us meet these needs by giving to our Syria Crisis Appeal»

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