As we mark the three-year anniversary of the Syrian refugee crisis today, the children of Syria speak out together, making an urgent plea to the world to listen. To help. Stand with World Vision in helping to prevent a lost generation of Syrian children.
Read more about this report written by children to the world.
Imagine that you’re taking an extended camping trip — you know that day when you suddenly feel like going back home? Taking a real shower again? Baking something in the oven or going out for dinner?
Now imagine that you’ve felt like that for three years.
Today, the conflict in Syria and corresponding refugee crisis in neighboring countries officially enters its fourth year.
Each year gets worse. Much worse.
“Child refugee numbers hit 1 million. Refugee numbers hit 2 million, then 2.5 million. Child deaths surpassed 10,000, more than the entire population of my hometown. Apparently, things could get worse — a lot worse — and very quickly.”
As much as numbers help us keep track of “worse,” they aren’t the only measure of “worse” that matters.
“Getting worse” is shown by the ever-increasing numbers of dead and refugees, as well as photos of bombed out homes and streets, but what I think about most are the many Syrians who left home years ago and still can’t go back. Their situation gets worse as food and water run short, as seasons bring extreme cold and heat, as they get sick and their money runs out. As they long for home more and more.
The weight of this crisis really hit home for me a few months ago when we started hearing the voices of Syria’s children firsthand. An entire generation is at risk of being lost: unable to go to school, unable to earn a living, the girls married off too young.
Earlier this week, World Vision released a report written by 140 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and Jordan between the ages of 10 and 17. By age, not a single one of them an adult, but they aren’t children anymore, either.
They write “We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, but we do not complain because we don’t want to overburden our parents.” And: “We cannot talk to our parents because they are suffering like us and more. At the end, we find ourselves listening to them, instead of having them listening to us.”
They raise concerns about good students in Syria now failing school in Lebanon. About the dangerous places where they now live. About discrimination and violence: 86 percent of the children that were interviewed stated that they had been exposed to violence.
They raised concerns about early marriage:
“For our lives as children, the ghost of forced early marriage has loomed. It has become a negative habit in society. The questionnaires we filled out revealed that many girls younger than 18 years old are getting married because of their family’s financial burdens. Some girls have been forced into early marriage against their will, to break away from the shackles of poverty.”
In Meg Sattler’s blog earlier this week, she wrote that for her, the worst thing about this crisis is that no one seems to care. The plea of these children speaks directly to Meg’s fear: they are asking the world to care.
In the report, they speak to their greatest fears, too:
“With all this, 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 and may [be] stranded away from our country and home.”
Day by day. Today we’re marking an anniversary of year by year gone by. But this crisis is a struggle for the children of Syria every single day.
This quote by 16-year-old Hasan sums up the report very well:
“If I could, I would rebuild my country, Syria. I would put back the smile on its face, without a drop of hatred or oppression, keeping the smiles and joy in the hearts of the innocent children who haven’t experienced anything in this life except fear, horror, hunger, and displacement. Even though I lost hope in any future, still I will dream. My dreams are to continue my education in the field of law and to become a lawyer and defend the oppressed. I want to raise my voice to the entire world, even if only once.”
You can read the full report by Syria’s children here.
Join World Vision in relieving some of the “worse” for Syrian refugees:
Donate to our Syrian refugee crisis fund.
Add your voice to our petition, and call for an end to the crisis.
Join us in prayer for the people of Syria, especially the children. See our prayer points here.