The crisis in Syria began in March 2011 with a violent crackdown on anti-government protests in the southern city of Deraa. Inspired by popular demonstrations across the Arab region in support of democratic reform, thousands of Syrians took to the streets in opposition to President Bashar al Assad.
The protracted conflict between opposition groups and the Syrian regime continues to grow and intensify. The escalating severity of violence results in devastating impacts for the civilian population – particularly children. According to estimates in December 2012 by the United Nations, four million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance. That equates to approximately one in five Syrians. 1
Increasing numbers of Syrian families and children have fled their homes amid chaos in order to seek refuge in neighboring countries. In Lebanon, the emergency situation for displaced Syrians has been exacerbated by cold winter months and dwindling available resources. By late January 2013, 221,189 Syrian refugees were registered in Lebanon.
Approximately half of those affected by the violent conflict in Syria are children. Regular reports are issued of grave violations of human rights being inflicted against them. The deteriorating security situation prohibits many children from accessing education or health facilities, and creates severe protection threats and risks to their livelihoods.
Children in Syria regularly bear witness to violence and to the trauma of war, and are furthermore without access to adequate means of support.
What we do
War Child Holland has been actively responding to the emergency crisis for Syrian children since early 2012. Through its team in Lebanon, a specially developed an emergency response program allowed for support to be initiated as soon as possible.
Presently, War Child is the leading agency providing education and psychosocial support services to Syrian children, through the creation of Safe Spaces in North Lebanon. Child Friendly Spaces provide an opportunity for children to begin recovering from the experience of their displacement, and to access support for their psychosocial and emotional wellbeing. We also performed a Child Right Analysis.
A Look Ahead
As the violence in Syria continues to escalate, children are increasingly vulnerable and in need. In 2014, War Child will continue to implement a proactive emergency response program for Syrian children.
Through its team in Lebanon, War Child will develop its current support for children affected by the two-year conflict. War Child will continue to provide psychosocial and educational support at Child Friendly Spaces in North Lebanon, and will expand its initiative into Beirut’s suburbs.
Additionally, War Child will provide targeted support to Palestinian children from Syria, whose families have relocated to the Palestinian camps in Lebanon and are coping with their second, often third displacement.