After six years of war, World Vision report reveals what children fear the most

Media Contact:

Brett Tarver
Media and Advocacy Lead
m 647-825-2712
p 905-565-6200 x2485


  • 43% of Syrian children fear airstrikes
  • 3% of Canadian children fear for their safety
​Syrian refugee, Rahaff, 5, holds her doll in an informal tented settlement in Bakaa, Lebanon. Photo/World Vision
(March 13, 2017)
MISSISSAUGA, ON – New research by World Vision reveals the startling contrast between the fears and dreams of children engulfed in the Syrian crisis compared to those in safer countries like Canada.  

Leading up to the sixth anniversary of the Syrian conflict, World Vision asked children around the world, including those in Syria, to share their biggest fears and dreams to better understand how violence might influence a child’s view of the world. 

The survey found 43 per cent of Syrian children feared airstrikes, shellings and explosions, while only three per cent of Canadian children had any concern for their immediate safety. 

While 54 per cent of Canadian children dream of a career, more than half of Syrian children dream of peace and returning home to their country. 

The results are presented in World Vison’s ‘Fears and Dreams’ report, which highlights the indelible mark that violence has left on Syria’s children. 

As the Syrian conflict enters its seventh year, World Vision is continuing to advocate for donors to commit to longer term funding for the Syrian crisis, for wealthy countries to take their fair share of refugees and decision-makers to use all of the diplomatic tools at their disposal to stop the atrocities in Syria.


"We’re now entering the seventh year of the conflict and with that comes a generation of children who have only known bloodshed and misery. Unfortunately, a different type of violence often awaits them beyond Syria’s borders, namely child labour, early marriage and other forms of exploitation and bullying.” – Wynn Flaten, Director of World Vision’s Syria Response

“For many of us working to support families in this intractable conflict, our biggest fear has always been that the hopes of Syria’s children might fade. This report has thankfully done something to allay that concern for us. However, it is wrong to say these children are resilient. What they’ve seen and experienced will stay with them their whole lives and they will need ongoing support. The report’s overwhelming conclusion is that all children have fears and dreams. Whether they become a reality is up to us.”  – Wynn Flaten, Director of World Vision’s Syria Response

“I want to become an electrical engineer so I can help rebuild Syria.” – Ghina (14) from Syria

  • 43% of Syrian children said they feared for their safety. Common answers included war, airstrikes and explosions.  
  • 15% of Syrian children said they feared losing a family member. 
  • 73% of Canadian children had ‘typical’ fears such as sharks, spiders and the dark.
  • 3% of Canadians said they feared for their safety. Answers included robbers and falling through the ice.
  • 50% of Syrian children said they dream of peace and returning to Syria. 
  • 65% of Canadian children said they dreamed of a particular career. Common answers included athlete, police officer and doctor. 
  • 7% of Canadian children dream of owning a pet. The most common answer was dog, followed by horse. 

  • Fears and Dreams video 

Canadians can donate to World Vision’s Syria Response here