The Syrian refugee crisis
- Since March 2011, Syria has been gripped in a conflict that has already led to over 220,000 deaths, 7.6 million people displaced and has resulted in the departure of over 4 million people to neighboring countries including Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
- Three quarters of the Syrian refugee population is comprised of women and children.
- According to the Human Rights Campaign, over 700,000 Syrian refugee families have no father and over 3700 refugee children are unaccompanied or separated from their parents.
- The UN says over half of all Syrian refugees are 18 years or younger, while most of them have not attended school for months, some even for years.
Childhood in the camps
- 37,000 babies have already been born in Syrian refugee camps.
- The older children are forced to grow up much too quickly and take care of their families in desperate circumstances.
- There are already 22 Syrian refugee camps in Turkey.
- The average time spent in a refugee camp is 17 years.
The importance of play
- Considering that so many children are born and raised in refugee camps, it is essential that they get a chance to just be kids and play.
- Play is a child’s universal right. It is a spontaneous, instinctive, fun and gratifying activity without which no child can properly develop.
- Play is essential to the development of a child’s brain and their social interaction. For those living amidst war, it becomes even more important to flush out the trauma and foster a sense of joy.
- Play is educational and helps children develop basic social and learning skills.
- Play is therapeutic and allows a child to vent their daily troubles and alleviate their stress, trauma, family conflicts and other problems.
Considering that so many children are born and raised in a refugee camp, it is so essential to re-introduce play into their lives.
What is it? It’s the ability to be human and healthy again after being subjected to psychological trauma. Can a deeply scarred child become a healthy adult? We think so, but it takes a healthy dose of humanity.
We believe that the transformative power of play can help Syrian war children become happy and well adjusted in the future.
Photo : Refugee children in Zaatari refugee camp