Over the past seven years, more than 5.6 million people have fled Syria, seeking refuge in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and beyond. Millions more remain trapped inside the country. As Syria’s conflict rages into year eight, the long-term effects of the crisis are becoming clearer. A new report from World Vision reveals that daily stress factors caused by the crisis result in irreversible damage to the emotional and physical wellbeing of refugees, particularly 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. “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.”
Now, 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.
Narrated by actor Liam Cunningham, UN Ambassador Dr. Alaa Murabit and former head of the UN Development Programme and former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, the video shows that there can be hope for refugees. Eighteen-year-old wife and mother Marah describes the importance of the video: “When I first arrived to Za’atari, I didn’t care for anything. But after receiving photography and film training, it became my dream to become a professional filmmaker. I hope with this workshop in 360 video, I can film a great movie about life here in the camp. My message to every young woman in the world is, do not stop dreaming for any reason.”
Did you know?
· 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.
Watch the video below.