Seven years of conflict in Syria

15 Mar 2018 by Gabriel Thomas, News Media Advisor
Seven years of conflict in Syria
Seven years on from the first wave of violence that followed Syria’s uprising, a World Vision report says many affected children may never recover. World Vision is marking the anniversary with two ground-breaking projects based around the stories of Syrian refugee children.

The ‘Beyond Survival’ report interviewed more than a thousand Syrian children, within the country and in the refugee camps, about the daily hardships they face and the effects they feel.

And ‘Stories After Syria’ is a first of its kind – a virtual reality project, which saw seven young Syrians tell their stories in 360 films.

Beyond Survival
As Syria’s conflict rages into year eight, the long term effects of the crisis are becoming clearer. One is that daily stress factors do irreversible damage to emotional and physical well-being, especially in the case of children. 
World Vision spoke to more than 1,200 Syrian children, in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, to find out how they have been affected by the conflict. The results are revealed in a new report released today. 

“Syria’s children are living in the midst of the most significant humanitarian protection crisis in living memory. We are failing to protect their lives, their childhoods and their futures.” says Wyn Flaten, World Vision’s Syria Crisis Response Director. “While their survival is and should be everyone’s priority, we need to go beyond just keeping these children alive. It is imperative that they are able to lead happy, healthy and productive lives after Syria.”

At the moment children are lacking many of the things they need to live those kinds of lives. 
  • Fewer than two in five Syrian children living in Lebanon attend school.
  • More than half of the children in Lebanon are working or have worked in the past.
  • More than half of the children interviewed, in all areas, have no access to health care.
  • More than four in five of the children in Jordan live in overcrowded homes.
  • Two thirds of those living in Syria have inadequate access to water and electricity.

“Our home was completely destroyed.” says 14 year old Ahmad. “My mother was killed. Armed groups forced us to leave our village. I hope one day we can return back to our village.” 

"Alarmingly, we found many children consider daily stressors like violence to be a normal aspect of their new lives. There is now a risk that children may never fully recover from this conflict." says Flaten. 

#StoriesAfterSyria
After seven years of war, Syrian children living in refugee camps want to tell their stories and be heard. World Vision has partnered with Al Jazeera’s virtual reality studio Contrast VR to release Dreaming In Za’atari: Stories after Syria, an immersive film exploring the hopes and dreams of three young people living in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp. 

Dreaming in Za’atari is narrated by former head of the United Nations Development Programme and former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, actor Liam Cunningham, and United Nations Ambassador Dr. Alaa Murabit.

In addition, World Vision and Contrast VR are unveiling 7 Stories for 7 Years , seven powerful, short 360 films written, shot and directed by child refugees.

All the films can be viewed across World Vision’s social media channels, and on Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Arabic, AJ+, Contrast VR and Samsung’s social media channels. 

Background:
Millions of Syrians have been forced to flee their homes because of years of violence. Six million have been forced from the country, and at least as many more have left for safer parts of Syria. 

The generosity of neighbouring countries – Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan – in sheltering refugees has been remarkable, but it has not been enough. The scale of the displacement and the longevity of the crisis means the need is huge and the international community must respond to expand the humanitarian response.

The refugees have been left without even the most basic needs – food, clean water and shelter. But they also need help rebuilding their lives and livelihoods, and many – children especially – need psychological support after witnessing horrific violence.

About World Vision
World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. World Vision began responding to the Syrian crisis in 2011. It works with Syrian children and their families inside Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Last year World Vision assisted 2.2 million Syrians including 1.3 million children. That work included psychosocial support and child protection initiatives, providing access to clean water, sanitation, health services and education.

World Vision has spokespeople on the ground working with the Syrian Crisis Response available for interviews.
For more information contact:
Gabriel Thomas, News Media Advisor
P: +64 21 360 098
E: gabriel.thomas@worldvision.org.nz