World Vision Launches Myanmar Refugee Appeal
World Vision ambassador Jerome Flynn says he is ‘changed forever’ after hearing heart-rending stories from war-scarred children in South Sudan.
Jerome met traumatised children last month on a fact-finding trip organised by international charity World Vision. South Sudan is the world’s youngest country, gaining independence in 2011. The East African country has been convulsed by a five-year long civil war which has killed at least 400,000 people. Over 19,000 children have been conscripted into various armed groups.
“Children told me about unimaginable horrors they had seen and experienced,” Jerome says. “Some children were kidnapped by armed groups and forced to fight and kill and watch other children get killed for not keeping up. Others fled torched homes and villages and sought refuge in camps for displaced people, with little food and no education. Many lost mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters and were forced to make choices no child should have to make, just to survive.
"I met families torn apart because of the conflict and talked to parents who had sons and daughters snatched from them,” he continued. At times I found their stories of what they had to endure almost too painful to bear.
“Yet I also saw hope in a country ripped apart by war. Dedicated World Vision aid workers are helping desperate families stitch their lives together amid the chaos. I was blown away by the resilience of the children, humbled by their spirit, and inspired by their determination to find happiness.
“I saw how war costs children their innocence but does not always destroy their childhoods. The bravery of the children I met will stay with me forever.”
Full-blown conflict is likely to flare up again in South Sudan unless a national army of government and rebel forces is formed by May 12. More children and young people could then be forced into the bush to take up arms or flee the fighting.
Jerome says: “South Sudan’s latest peace deal is on a short fuse and the situation is desperate. Help is needed urgently to protect children from further violence. Sadly, there are thousands of children across the world who need support right now. Please give generously to help them.”
Jerome’s trip forms part of World Vision’s Made for More appeal for funds to protect the world’s most vulnerable children.
International children’s charity World Vision is today launching a Myanmar refugee appeal to support over 225,000 children suffering unimaginable hardship in refugee settlements in Bangladesh.
More than half a million refugees, most of whom identify as Rohingya, have fled Myanmar since violence erupted on August 25.
Money raised from this appeal will go to help those in desperate need. As well as the threat of hunger and lack of shelter, World Vision fears that hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of disease, mental health issues, exploitation and abuse.
Fred Witteveen, World Vision’s National Director in Bangladesh, said: “We appeal to the international community worldwide to urgently scale up its response to this refugee crisis, which is less than half funded. Because of the shortfall, we are unable to meet children’s basic needs.
“These children need shelter, food, clean water, toilets and medical care to treat acute injuries. The funding we receive will also go towards developing our child friendly spaces – where children can play, learn and start a journey towards healing. Many of them have witnessed gruesome violence, and it is vital we urgently address this trauma.”
You can help children and their families affected - please donate to our Myanmar Refugee Appeal 2017 »