The Syrian conflict is now in its seventh year and it is children who are paying the heaviest price.
No child in Syria is spared the horror of war. They can’t escape the violence, not in schools, hospitals, playgrounds, parks or even their own homes. For Syrian children, each year of conflict has been more devastating than the last. They have lived through unimaginable horrors and many are deeply traumatised.
Photo: Aya, Syria, 2016.
Children like Aya (11) have had to deal with great loss. Five years ago, Aya’s father left Syria to find work in Egypt, it was the only chance he had to support his family. Aya hasn’t seen her father since. “I drew myself seeing my father off at the airport, it’s my saddest memory. I look at a photo of him every night so I don’t forget what he looks like.”
Photo: Amar, Syria, 2016.
Amar (12) drew a picture of her family. Amar’s two brothers disappeared in the war, shortly after they went missing her father suffered a stroke that has left him unable to move or speak. “This drawing shows my mother pushing my father on his wheelchair and me crying beside them. It makes me so sad to see my father unable to do anything on his own. I miss him talking to me.”
Photo: Khalil, Syria, 2016.
Children like Khalil (11) are exposed to unimaginable violence. “I drew an armed man shooting an innocent man because I know a lot of people who died since the beginning of the war.”
Amal holds up her drawing. Photo: Al-Issa, Syria, 2016.
Amal (12) drew her picture as a tribute to the 30 children who died when their playschool was hit by shelling. “I keep thinking of the little children, I bet they didn’t even know what was happening when their kindergarten was hit by a shell.”
UNICEF provides special programmes to help children come to terms with what they have experienced, it might be as simple as providing a safe place where children can come and play to providing counselling and training teachers in how best to support traumatised children.
Huda (6) draws her picture during the UNICEF run programme. Photo: Al-Issa, Syria, 2016.
Aya, Amar, Khalil and Amal were taking part in a UNICEF supported psychosocial programme where they were encouraged to express their feelings through art. They were asked to draw pictures of a good and bad memory and then they were encouraged to draw a picture of their hopes and dreams.
Ammar hold up his picture. Photo: Al-Issa, Syria, 2016.
Ammar (6) drew a picture of his dream house with a large garden. “It is a big clean space with green grass, trees and flowers.”
Khaled hold up his picture. Photo: Al-Issa, Syria, 2016.
Khaled (13) was injured during heavy fighting in Eastern Aleppo. He drew a picture of a big house with a swimming pool. “I love sport, especially swimming. I wish I learn how to swim and be a fast swimmer.”
Fatima proudly displays her drawing. Photo, Al-Issa, Syria, 2016.
Fatima (5) was forced to flee her home as violence escalated in Eastern Aleppo. Her hope was “live in a big house that has room for all my family and friends.”
Last year UNICEF provided psychosocial support programmes to 509,857 children in Syria. Please donate today and help support UNICEF’s work with Syrian children.