By Kathryn Dorrell
For months, there have been reports issued about Syrian children and their families who’ve been desperately trying to escape from the conflict in their country.
World Vision president, Dave Toycen, returned last weekend from the region.
“I met children who are so traumatized they can barely speak,” he says. “They’ve watched people they love being maimed or killed. The abuse of girls and women is egregious. Rape, one of the oldest tactics of war, is now in the emotional vocabulary of children still young enough to listen to bedtime stories.”
So far, about 1.6 million Syrians have left the country to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. In the next few weeks, that number is expected to reach two million, with more than half of them being children. There are currently between 800,000 and 900,000 children living in tent communities, camps, or temporary dwellings.
For these children, fear, violence, and uncertainty have become a daily occurrence. One thing they desperately need is a supportive and safe place in the community to heal emotionally. World Vision has established six large child-friendly spaces to serve this purpose, and has plans to set up more in time.
In these centres, children can get involved in things like games, sports, singing, and playing with toys. They can also take part in informal learning or reading programs. Through creative play under the supervision of trained monitors, children are able to process their fears and losses in healthy ways.
Give a gift to help children and families who have been severely impacted by conflict in Syria.
Watch a video of a Child-Friendly Space in Lebanon