On 15 March, the Syrian Civil War completed its eighth year. Until now, over six million Syrians are displaced within Syria and over five million are taking refuge in neighbouring countries. At this stage, almost 12 million people need humanitarian assistance, five million of whom are children.
Syrian families are currently taking refuge in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey while some are still displaced inside Syria. In 2018, World Vision was able to reach some of them with humanitarian aid. During this time, we had a chance to ask some of the children about their fears, hopes and dreams. Many of them feared for their own and their families’ safety when they go back to their country.
10-year-old Habiba says, “I am scared to go back to Syria, because what if a bomb fell on us?” She worries about her younger brother playing outside and getting killed by a bomb or a bullet. In a couple of years, her family may be cornered into marrying her off because they can’t provide for her or keep her safe. Many children affected by the conflict have started working to help their families with living expenses.
While the situation has forced millions of Syrian children to give up their childhoods, it’s encouraging to know that they haven’t given up on their dreams.
Abla and Batouli are two Syrian girls who have built a close friendship since fleeing to Jordan. Abla, 16, feels strongly about social justice and wants to give back to her community. She dreams of becoming a lawyer to fight for women’s rights and wants to work with orphans, the elderly and those with special needs.
Batouli, 15, has a steadfast dream of becoming a fashion designer. Regardless of her circumstances or the stories of war she has heard, she dreams through her drawings and sketches. She is one of the many Syrian children who are stubbornly keeping their dreams alive.
We shouldn't grow weak when we face our first obstacle. We should continue and be patient and become what we are born to be.
Batouli, Syrian refugee in Lebanon
Syria’s chance at a better future now rests on the dreams of its children. They want to work together and have a part in rebuilding a peaceful and prosperous Syria. Perhaps the best way to express this from a Syrian child’s perspective would be in Habiba’s words, "I dream that Syria will go back to how it was before the war and even better than that.”