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Of the 4.8 million registered Syrian refugees, half are children

Syrian Refugee Crisis

Of the 4.8 million registered Syrian refugees, half are children

“The children of Syria have experienced more hardship, devastation, and violence than any child should have to in a thousand lifetimes,” says Dr. Christine Latif, World Vision’s response manager.

That is the case for Hamza (pictured), aged 10. He left Syria with his family three years ago, but he still fears the airstrikes and gets frightened when he remembers how close they came to his house.

See the world through their eyes
The hopes and fears of Syrian children have been shaped by six years of war.
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Fears and Dreams

of Syrias children and their peers around the world

KickerThis is a kicker.

> **Six years of violence has left an indelible mark on Syrias children. They continue to pay the price of this brutal, adult war.** **Countless numbers have done so with their lives.**

For those who manage to flee the violence, safety is not guaranteed beyond Syrias borders. In many refugee host countries, children are being forced to trade their childhoods for jobs to pay basic household living expenses. Young girls are married early because their families cant provide for them and in some cases, for their own protection.


**World Vision has worked with these children since the war began. Leading up to the sixth anniversary of the conflict, we asked them to share their fears and dreams with us. We also spoke to children in relatively safe countries to better understand how exposure to violence can influence a childs view of the world and their ability to remain hopeful.** We found many childhood commonalities and a heart\-warming amount of empathy. But as one might expect, the most startling contrast was that Syrias children live in almost constant fear of violence and have been thrust into adulthood much too quickly.


World Visions new campaign It takes a world to end violence against children requires all of us to become relentless advocates for Syrias children. To hold decision\-makers and their six\-years of inaction to account.

All children have fears and dreams. Whether they become a reality is up to us.





_Mohammed_ 16, Syria My fear is that something will happen to my younger sisters. My biggest dream is to be a journalist.

After his father and uncle were shot and killed, the gun was pointed at Mohammed. He ran and hid in a nearby valley until it was safe to come out. After that, Mohammed and his remaining family fled Syrias Golan Heights to Jordan. As they left their home behind, he realised the importance of family and that his biggest fear was something happening to his younger sisters. **Hes not alone, 15 per cent of Syrian children surveyed by World Vision agreed their biggest fear was losing a family member.** It was a beautiful life. I had all my family. Everything we needed. I suppose you dont realise what you have until you dont have it anymore. Now living in Azraq Refugee Camp, Mohammed dreams of becoming a journalist.

I was interested in journalism from a young age, my uncle would buy me newspapers to read and study. Even though he was killed, I want to carry on with this dream, it is a way of honouring him. That determination has seen Mohammed and a group of friends start a magazine for youth inside the camp.


> I want to write about things that are important and actually matter, because there are a lot of children who are afraid to speak up. Hopefully this would help them have a voice.

Mohammed hopes the first issue will be ready to distribute soon.




_Hamza_ 10, Syria I fear the airstrikes. My biggest dream is to become a pilot, it would be amazing to see the world.



_Jasmine_ 8, Syria I fear for Syria when I see what is happening. My dream is to see my grandmother in Syria.

**Eight\-year\-old Jasmine and her elder sister Dalal are from Hama. They left Syria three years ago and are now living in a refugee host community in Jordan.** Their father, Hnadi can see how the conflict has affected them and tries to make life better for them each day. "I just want to give them everything they want. They should be children and enjoy their childhood, he says. Ive tried to make the house friendly and warm. We put toys up on the wall and buy them clothes like onesies. Weve felt disconnected since we left Syria.


We have an empty bird cage, and a big Tweety Bird. My kids asked me why we don't put the bird inside the cage. **I told them that birds dont belong in cages, they should be free to fly.** While the sisters miss Syria, they are grateful to be in Jordan. I feel safe here. I love Syria, but at the moment, I wouldnt feel safe there, explains Dalal. When I was in Syria I feared the airstrikes and the gun\-shots. When I see a policeman here I get scared too.

> Jasmine often watches the news with her father, the guns, the blood, it is all so scary. It is my homeland and it makes me sad to see what is happening. Even when I was living there, it was happening. I fear for Syria when I see what is happening.

The sisters, like half of the Syrian children surveyed, dream of peace and returning to Syria. Jasmine also agreed with 12 per cent of respondents who also said they wanted to be reunited with family. I miss my grandma and my aunties, I just want to see them again and hug them. Meanwhile, Dalal dreams of doing well in school and making her mother proud. When she grows up, she wants to become a nurse; joining 33 per cent of Syrian children who told World Vision they dream of a particular profession. The most common answers were doctors and teachers.


Hnadi says he is extremely proud of his children and how theyre dealing with their new life in Jordan. These are my buddies, I love them, he says as he pulls them close for a photo.


_We dream to be able to continue to dream._ \- Sisters Ghina, 16, and Nour, 14 from Syria



**World Visions Syria Response is offering children psychosocial support and providing them with remedial education, life\-skills and safe places to play.** Our hope is these interventions will help them through their experiences, educate them about their rights and how to protect themselves and to resolve social conflicts peacefully.


We are engaging teachers to promote a protective environment for children at school, training parents and caregivers in Positive Discipline and establishing Community Based Child Protection Committees to recognise and refer all cases of violence including physical, emotional and sexual abuse, child labour and early marriage. Our staff are also trained to identify child protection violations.


Internationally we are advocating for donors to commit to longer term funding for the Syrian crisis, for wealthy countries to take their fair share of refugees and decision\-makers to put an end to the violence. In particular, the United Nations Security Council should use all of the diplomatic tools at its disposal to stop the atrocities and protect children and their families.


**It takes a world to end** **violence against children**


Share this report if you believe Syrias children deserve a life safe from harm.




Click here to view the full survey results




Syrian refugee crisis: What you need to know

  • 13.5 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance due to a violent civil war that began in 2011.

  • 4.8 million Syrians are refugees, and 6.1 million are displaced within Syria; half of those affected are children.

  • Children affected by the Syrian conflict are at risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited. Millions have been forced to quit school. 

  • Most Syrian refugees remain in the Middle East, in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt; only 11% percent of the refugees have fled to Europe.

  • Peace negotiations continue despite a fraying ceasefire.

Our response

Our response

Right now, World Vision has staff on the ground in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. We are providing services to hundreds of thousands of displaced people across Northern Syria, through water trucking, water systems, and toilets and showers. We are also building a new hospital, and providing medical equipment and supplies.

With your help, we can continue to provide winter supplies, clean water and sanitation services, food and emergency supplies in the region north and west of Aleppo.  Please donate today.

Support the most urgent humanitarian crisis of our time

can provide families with mattresses and blankets

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can provide two villages with water pumps

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can provide a family with food for a month

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Meet the children of the crisis

How this helps

In 2016, World Vision brought life-saving aid to 2.2 million people across Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Our work includes child protection, education, food, health, winter supplies and shelter, and water, sanitation and hygiene support.  

After six devastating years of fighting, there is still no end in sight to the conflict in Syria. As the crisis continues to unfold, World Vision will be there for Syrian children for as long as we are needed.

Where your money goes

Your generosity is behind everything we do, and we ensure your donation has the biggest impact in the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children. Last year 80.8 per cent of donated dollars went to our work overseas, bringing real and lasting change to millions of people in need. The remaining 19.2 per cent enabled us to advocate for greater change and to leverage your donations, turning your $1 into far more in the field.

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FAQs: Emergency Relief

  • How quickly does World Vision respond to a disaster, and what is your immediate response?

    When disaster strikes, World Vision adopts a “first-in, last-out” approach: We first respond with life-saving emergency aid, and then we stay for the long term to help families recover and rebuild.

    • Within the first couple of hours after a disaster, World Vision staff members closest to the disaster respond with reports on the level of severity and need. 
    • Within 24 to 72 hours of the disaster, our global rapid response team is on the ground, making assessments and beginning to provide emergency relief. 
    • Within 72 hours of the disaster, our pre-positioned relief supplies are loaded up, transported, and distributed from local and international warehouses. 
    • We then work to continuously distribute emergency aid and relief to residents affected by the disaster. 
    Over the following months, we work to help families stabilise by providing assistance with shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, child protection activities, healthcare, and economic opportunities. 
    Once communities are back on their feet, we work with them to help ensure that they are better prepared should another disaster strike.


  • When disaster strikes, which World Vision employees respond?

    World Vision’s Global Rapid Response Team brings together international disaster experts from around the world, who are deployed within hours of a major emergency to support local teams and communities. The Global Rapid Response team includes relief managers, programme officers, and specialists in health and nutrition, human resources, finance, logistics, security, food aid, child protection, information technology, and communications — all working as a team to provide effective emergency relief.

    In a large-scale response, World Vision collaborates with the United Nations and other local aid agencies. This collaboration helps avoid duplication, maximize efficiencies, eliminate gaps in humanitarian response, and ensure all needs are met. 

  • How do you prepare to make sure you’re ready when an emergency occurs?

    Having a disaster response fund ready to use, pre-positioning supplies like non-food items, and having staff prepared and trained to respond to emergencies is increasingly important to how we respond to disasters. The global pre-positioning resource network is our designated team that makes sure we’re prepared to respond rapidly to any disaster anywhere in the world. The team pre-positions the supplies and develops preparedness plans, programming standards, logistic assessments, and logistic plans. The supplies are ready to go in seven different warehouses that are strategically located all around the world. These relief supplies are ready for up to 225,000 beneficiaries at any time, ensuring that those affected by disasters will have emergency supplies distributed to them quickly and efficiently.

    We also work with communities to help them be better prepared should disasters strike, through our disaster preparedness programmes.

  • How do you help residents recover from disasters in the long term?

    We are quick to respond to disasters, but we also focus on helping to rebuild the lives of disaster-affected families and communities over the long term. Large-scale disasters often leave hundreds of thousands of people homeless and vulnerable. While emergency relief is necessary and saves lives, it is not enough.

    We help disaster survivors by assisting their transition from relief mode to recovery and rebuilding mode. This recovery and rebuilding phase involves a transition to permanent housing, clean water, sustainable sources of food, access to education, and re-established livelihoods. We work to ‘build back better’ so that people are in a better position than they were prior to the disaster taking place.

  • Why are people leaving Syria?

    • Violence: Since the Syrian civil war began, as many as 470,000 people have been killed, says the Syrian Centre for Policy research. 
    • Collapsed infrastructure: Within Syria, healthcare, education systems, and other infrastructure have been destroyed; the economy is shattered.
    • Children’s safety: Syrian children — the nation’s hope for a better future — have lost loved ones, suffered injuries, missed years of schooling, and witnessed unspeakable violence and brutality. 

  • Why are Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe?

    Five years into the crisis, the increased strain on services in the region of hosting the extraordinary high number of refugees has led to worsening living conditions for Syrian refugees and hosting communities alike. Access to health and education services, or basic needs such as food and water, has continued to decline as refugees run out of savings to support themselves and funding requirements run short.

    This deterioration of conditions inside Syria and in neighbouring countries resulted in 2015 seeing the highest numbers of Syrian refugees undertaking risky journeys towards Europe in the hope of a better future. Just over 10 per cent of those who have fled the conflict since its beginning have sought safety in Europe, with 813,599 asylum applications made between April 2011 and April 2015.

  • What is World Vision doing about the Crisis?

    In 2016, our Syria Crisis Response team contributed to the well-being of almost 2.3 million people, in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey. Just over one million were children.

    • Lebanon: World Vision’s response has helped 240,886 people, through education, community-based water, sanitation and hygiene, child protection, and cash support to households.
    • Jordan: Some 75,270 people in Jordan have been able to settle into their changed lives, with a strong emphasis on child protection, schools, household financial support, and education opportunities.  World Vision also provides water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure in camps, and alternative learning and psychosocial support for children of all backgrounds. 
    • Syria: Sustainable water and sanitation solutions, psychosocial support for children, household and winter items, hygiene kits and baby kits, and filling gaps in fractured health-care
    • Turkey: World Vision helped 14,965 recently arrived refugees with access to legal services, protection, translation and non-formal education to enhance coping mechanism
    • Iraq: World Vision’s Syria Crisis Response in Iraq helped 1,722,371 people, including 885,515 children, living in camps and communities to access health, water, hygiene, dignity and learning opportunities, with an emphasis on safe and food-secure living conditions.

  • Are Syrian refugees all living in camps?

    No. In Jordan, the overwhelming majority of refugees live in host communities, staying with other families or rental accommodation.

    There are approximately 637,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. Despite how much media coverage it gets only around 80,000 of those live in Za’atari refugee camp. Azraq refugee camp opened in Jordan in 2014 and currently houses approximately 31,000 Syrian refugees. 

    In Lebanon, there are no official refugee camps for Syrians. Syrian refugees are living in host communities or scattered informal camp-like settlements. In Turkey approximately 90% of Syrian refugees live outside formal camps. 

  • What is life like for refugee children living in camps or tents?

    In Lebanon, there are no official refugee camps, though there are scattered camp-like informal settlements. 
    This makes emergency response difficult and many refugees are falling through the cracks. These settlements generally lack proper hygiene and other measures needed to protect the health of the most vulnerable, including children. Children cannot rely on the usual protection mechanisms and are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Winter conditions present extra challenges for already vulnerable children and families. 

    The most populace refugee camp in Jordan is Za’atari, close to the northern border with Syria. It is home to around 80,000 people. The camp is hot and dusty in summer and cold in winter, it is no place for children, despite the best efforts of authorities, the UN and humanitarian agencies. Some children are not in school and wander around refugee camps during the day and night, which leaves them very vulnerable.