11 March 2014, Amman - A new report, written and researched by refugee children three years after the beginning of the Syrian conflict, reveals children are burdened by financial insecurity, physical and verbal abuse and increasingly uncertain futures.
In the report, supported by international agency World Vision, the children found that 86 percent of their peers have been exposed to violence in their new communities.
“We fled the flames of war, only to find ourselves surrounded by danger, explosions, kidnapping, and theft. We are unable to live peacefully. We live in constant fear that something will happen and affect our life or hurt us,” the children write in Our uncertain future, launched today.
Directing the findings to “the organisations and countries supporting our cause, who are capable of making a difference” and “every person in this world”, the children call on the international community to “help us and end this crisis”. The children also ask the communities who are hosting them “to accept us until this crisis is over”.
Justin Byworth, Chief Executive of World Vision UK, who has just returned from the region, said: “The children of Syria think the world has forgotten them. I've met countless families who've suffered unimaginable loss. One mother Noura told me 'we are hungry, scared and none of my children have seen school in more than two years'.
"As this crisis enters its fourth year we need a spark that ignites public and political urgency and action worldwide to prevent a whole generation of Syria’s children being lost and a stain on humanity that will shame our generation in the history books of tomorrow."
The research for the report published tomorrow was conducted in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, and Irbid, Jordan, during January and February. Through group discussions and interviews, 140 children aged between 10 and 17 years old identified their most urgent problems and provided recommendations to help solve them. The findings were written up by a small group of writers elected among the children. Their words, aside from translation from Arabic into English, have not been altered.
“Our fears grow day by day that the war will rage on, that destruction will intensify, and that we will lose many of our friends and relatives who are still under fire in Syria. What we fear most is our uncertain future. We are afraid we may never go home.”
The report references child marriage, financial insecurity and bullying as key concerns for children. It also mentions racism and sectarianism. The authors say: “We would never have known the meaning of these words if it were not for this crisis.”
They also, however, make it clear that they experience great generosity from their new communities.
World Vision is presenting today’s report to governments around the world urging them to listen and act on the calls made.
Conny Lenneberg, World Vision’s Regional Leader for Middle East and Eastern Europe said: “Behind the violence and the politics, a generation of children is doing its best to grow, learn and develop in the midst of continued uncertainty. Soon, these children will be adults, responsible for rebuilding the country they love. They’ll be asking us why we did not do more – in fact they are already are.”
For interviews, or to obtain accompanying video material, please contact Sarah Wilson, on 07557 567 753 or at email@example.com