Standing with the people of Syria

Change is possible for the people of Syria, says Chief Advocate Tim Costello

March 15 marks the grim sixth anniversary of the war in Syria – and the greatest humanitarian crisis in our world today. The millions of people caught up in this deadly conflict – and those who are working to aid them – desperately need your prayers and support.

Six years ago, a fire was lit in the Middle East called the Arab Spring. That peaceful uprising erupted into the deadliest conflict yet seen in the 21st century. Even graver dangers may lie ahead.

As the conflict enters its seventh year, at least 300,000 people – possibly many more – have been killed. More than 11 million of Syria's pre-war population of 22 million (roughly the same population as Australia) have been forced from their homes.

The victims are everyday people. Just like you and me.

More than half of those fleeing the violence in Syria are children. Their suffering is immeasurable. Many have lost their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters; their homes and their hopes for the future. They are a generation of children who know nothing but war. Many have been displaced multiple times. Many have lost years of education. 

In the months of October and November 2016 alone, children accounted for more than 20 percent of all civilian deaths. More than one-third of children killed in 2015 were killed while at or en-route to school. Too many have been forced into child labour and child marriage.

More than 15,000 children have crossed Syria’s borders unaccompanied or separated from their families. Who could imagine the psychological impact of their suffering?

Tim checks in on World Vision’s accelerated learning programs, which prepare Syrian refugees to enrol in the Lebanese school system.

Thanks to you, there is hope

Thanks to generous supporters like you, World Vision is working with local partners to deliver relief items, clean water and sanitation, mobile health clinics and safe spaces for women and children.

World Vision is also committed to working together with partners, supporters, governments, faith leaders, businesses, communities and children themselves to end violence against children both in Syria and surrounding countries. We do this by challenging attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that condone violence and by ensuring governments enact policies that prohibit violence and provide services that help to prevent violence.

We can change things for the better. We can make a difference. Every one of us.

Help us to drive out the darkness. Please pray for protection and relief for those who are innocently caught in the crossfire, and for those helping meet the needs of people suffering in Syria and Iraq.

Please also pray for my wisdom and protection as I prepare to journey to these conflict zones to help deepen my understanding, so I can convey to Australians the fears and needs of families caught up in wars beyond their control.

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