“They are stories that break your heart”
World Vision Ambassador and TV presenter Melissa Doyle wrote these words upon returning from meeting Syrian refugee children in Jordan and Lebanon.
“These are children who have lived through war, lost people they loved and walked out the door and left everything they treasured.
“They have missed years of school, driven out by soldiers, death and fear. They carry deep emotional wounds that may never heal. But they are alive, so many are not.”
It’s estimated that more than11,000 children have been killed since the Syrian conflict began three years ago and a further 1.1 million are now living as refugees in neighbouring countries.
Mel Doyle travelled to Lebanon and Jordon before Christmas to see firsthand the refugees’ plight and how your donations are helping.
There she met children like 11-year-old Obeida who fled in panic as soldiers stormed his school, killing his teacher and the two guards trying to keep them safe. And 12-year-old Deema, who was wounded by shrapnel whilst playing in her front yard with her little cousin, who died in the blast.
Mel was struck by how many of the children and families she met were so much like us – people who were living comfortable lives who’d been forced to leave it all behind to find safety across borders.
Children like Hind, “a sweet, gentle young girl” whose dad owned the local supermarket in her home town in Syria and who tended the family rose garden with pride.
“She loved school and hanging with her five best friends as any teenager would,” Mel wrote.
“Now she lives in a tent lined with cardboard in the Bekaa valley in northern Lebanon and survives on food vouchers. She tells me she never dreamt she would walk on dirt, let alone live like this.”
Although Hind was softly spoken, Mel encountered a “composed, strong and intelligent” teenager, like many others she met on the trip.
“I am in no doubt she will survive and find a way to make her dreams of being a teacher come true … She has her dignity and her future, just not the way she had expected.”
During her time in Jordan and Lebanon, Mel saw how your donations to our Syria Refugee Crisis Appeal are being used to help meet basic needs for things like food, clean water and shelter, as well as provide educational support for refugee children like Hind.
You can watch Mel’s reports from Lebanon and Jordan below and please donate to help the children and families whose lives have been devastated by this conflict.