Syrian refugees: Four years in crisis

Syrian refugees: Four years in crisis | World Vision Blog

Children displaced from their homes by conflict are living in makeshift, inadequate shelter during this cold winter. (Photo: 2014 Mary Kate MacIsaac/World Vision)

This week, we're partnering with One Day's Wages to double your ability to help children and families displaced by conflict in Syria and Iraq! For every dollar you give to One Day's Wages' World Vision campaign, they will match, up to $50,000.

Today, read where the past four years of crisis have taken the people of Syria and World Vision's journey to assist them, then give and watch it be doubled!


Over the past four years of the Syrian Refugee Crisis (we’ll mark the anniversary on March 15th), more than half of all Syrians have been displaced within or left their country.

Throughout the crisis, we’ve come together in prayer for the people of Syria and those who have fled, half of whom are children.

Many of the refugees have settled within the communities of other countries, like Lebanon, where Syrian children have trouble getting into school due to language barriers and different curricula. Here, their parents struggle to find work, which leads to financial difficulty and debts just to buy basics, and this hardship can lead to the risk of early marriage for girls as young as twelve as well as to child labor as children try to help their families earn money.

For several years now, World Vision has provided remedial education classes to help Syrian children bridge the gap between schools and catch up so they can enroll in their new local schools. We’ve also provided families with water and sanitation facilities, food and shelter, and supplies to help them weather the harsh winters.

Other refugees have settled in refugee camps like Za’atari and the new Azraq camp in Jordan, which World Vision helped establish. Our president, Rich Stearns, visited Za’atari last year and met families who told him, “We don’t want to be here.” They want to go home. They “all want to be free.”

Many of the millions of Syrian refugee children that come to these camps or communities outside their country are coping with the trauma of their flight: the violence of war, physical injuries to themselves or their family members, their homes and neighborhoods bombed. Some of World Vision’s work has focused on helping them cope with this trauma.

One of the causes for urgency around this refugee crisis is the potential for a lost generation of Syrian children: children who fall out of education by not getting into school, a generation who could have been doctors and lawyers and teachers, but who never reach their full potential. A war may devastate a country’s infrastructure, but the human losses of a drawn-out conflict can be even more devastating.

Our coverage of the crisis here on our blog hit many highlights in 2014, but one of the most inspiring was right at the 3-year mark last March when a group of Syrian children came together to speak out to world leaders for themselves.

Another highlight was last February when we brought together a group of influential writers—including Zack Hunt, Ron Edmondson, Matthew Paul Turner, and our president, Rich Stearns—to discuss the question, “Why should Christians care about Syria?”

We also heard from influential writers like Rachel Held Evans and Ed Cyzewski toward the end of 2013, as they shared their dreams for the future of the Syrian refugees. Also that October, we featured a beautiful piece by a ten-year-old Syrian girl named Haya, who wrote a letter and a song to the world.

In refugee crises, we often talk about numbers and statistics: how many people have fled, what percentage of them are women and children, etc. Haya’s story is a stunning reminder about how personal this crisis is for each and every one of them living through it.

8-year-old Hamze, who is living as a refugee in Lebanon, is another. When we asked him what he missed about his home in Syria, he answered with one word: “Everything.”

Today, 3.8 million Syrians have fled their country as refugees and 7.6 million have been displaced within Syria. Throughout the region, they struggle to stay warm and survive the cold as winter storms pass through, making living conditions even more difficult.

That’s why World Vision has joined forces with Seattle-area non-profit One Day’s Wages to bring basic services and protection against freezing weather to Syrian families forced from their homes by brutal war.

Our week-long campaign begins today, Tuesday, January 26: together, we invite you to donate the equivalent of one day’s worth of your income to help us bring relief to Syrian families. One Day’s Wages will match* every dollar donated, up to $50,000!

From Eugene Cho, Founder of One Day’s Wages:

“It’s been utterly heartbreaking to watch as the crisis in Iraq and Syria has continued to inflict immense suffering on millions of families for nearly 4 years.  Let’s be honest: It's easy to tune out this crisis because of all the complexities and the many other things competing for our attention — but justice and standing with the oppressed is rarely the easy thing. But as followers of Christ and lovers of humanity, this must be our commitment. Let’s continue to pray for them and discuss the root issues, but let’s not put off action any longer. We know we can't change the entire situation in Iraq and Syria but that's not an excuse to do nothing. Let's do what we can. Let's do it with love. Please join this collaboration between One Day's Wages and World Vision."

World Vision will use these funds to resource our ongoing relief efforts for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, as well as those displaced within Syria.

*To qualify for the match, donations must be made via the One Day’s Wages website. While all funds will be used to support World Vision programs, donors can expect to receive a receipt for their donation from One Day’s Wages, rather than from World Vision.

Watch your donation to World Vision's Syria relief efforts go twice as far! Give to the One Day's Wages Emergency Relief for Iraq and Syria Campaign today and they will match it!

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