Suffering children ‘torn apart’ by Syrian war ‘need help’, says World Vision

29 March 2018

PA

Children from an area in Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, in Syria, await to be transferred to a safe shelter, earlier this month

Children from an area in Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, in Syria, await to be transferred to a safe shelter, earlier this month

CHILDREN who have escaped the war in Syria face further trauma at school, a report by World Vision suggests.

For the report, Beyond Survival, 400 displaced children in southern Syria were asked about their new lives away from home. Almost seven out of ten reported psychologically damaging experiences of physical and verbal abuse, and aggression at school.

The survey found that children were struggling with poverty, malnutrition, displacement, and over­crowded housing, and bullying at school. Ninety per cent were not receiving any support for their emotional trauma at school.

World Vision’s Syria crisis response director, Wynn Flaten, said last week: “Too many young lives have been torn apart by the Syrian war. And still the suffering children of Syria find no respite from brutality and hardship, even in schools and homes. These children desperately need safe places where they can recover from their horrific experiences. The longer they lack that security, the worse the damage to their mental and physical health.”

The charity’s UK head of policy, advocacy and campaigns, Gavin Crowden, said: “We urge the UK Government to prioritise education, child protection, and mental health in the funds it has generously pledged to the Syrian crisis. These interventions are as important as food and clean water. If we don’t act now, we are abandoning a generation of children.”

On Thursday of last week, World Vision also launched a virtual-reality film, using footage taken by Syrian children in the Zaatari refugee camp, in Jordan, which shows what their lives are like as refugees.

WORLD VISIONWorld Vision have launched a virtual-reality film, using footage taken by Syrian children in the Zaatari refugee camp, in Jordan

The “experience” has been created in partnership with Al Jazeera, and is narrated by the Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham; the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark; and a UN High Commissioner of Health Employment and Economic Growth, Dr Alaa Murabit.

“If there’s gunfire on the streets, violence at home, and abuse in the classroom, you have to ask: what life are we offering these children?” Mr Cunningham said.

“Millions of Syrian children are living in a state of prolonged exposure to the horrors of war. We all have a duty to stand up and speak out against these atrocities, which, as World Vision notes, are damaging an entire generation.

“Not only have they experienced unbelievable horrors back in Syria, but each day as a refugee brings its own hardships. They deserve more, and it’s up to us to step in and do what we can to help.”

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