" The difficulties that the children from Shaam face are some of the worst in the World, because they lost everything. Some of them lost their parents, and some of them lost some of his body limbs and suffered permanent disability. I want to help them."
12 year old Hasna from Hama in Shaam.
It is becoming increasingly easy to turn a blind eye to suffering around the world. For many of us, while we are currently facing unprecedented times that have brought a whole host of new challenges and struggles, we have known peace, stability, and security. Turning away from suffering is much easier – we can turn off our TVs, mute social media profiles and get lost in a long series on Netflix. Millions of refugees around the world, especially children, have never known peace. They have only known the heartbreak and devastation that accompanies war, conflict, and persecution. For them, there is no escape, even when they manage to flee.
Children are among the worst hit in war and crises, and this is no different to the war in Shaam. A staggering 1 in 5 children today are living in a warzone. Over 8 million children have been directly impacted by the war in Shaam which began in 2011. UNICEF reports that children constitute almost 45% of the population in need of aid, which totals 11.7 million civilians in Shaam and 5.7 million refugees abroad. In 2018, official reports reveal that at least three innocent children were killed every day during the war, and we anticipate the actual figure to be much higher. In the first two months of 2018 alone, 1,000 children were killed or injured in the intensifying violence.
The UN verified 2909 grave violations against children throughout 2018 alone - including 89 attacks on schools. The World Bank reported that 49 education facilities had been destroyed in Aleppo alone and that many schools had become military bases and targets. Some organisations have estimated the real number of attacks over the last 8 years on schools to be over 4,000.
At SKT Welfare, we have been working with refugee communities from Shaam in Turkey for several years, focusing on helping them build a safer and happier future. A lot of our work is centred around children like 12 year old Hasna from Hama in Shaam. Hasna has been living at the Springs of Hope Family Centre with her two siblings for the last 4 years. When Hasna was just 5 years old, her father lost his life during conflict in Shaam. It was an extremely difficult time for all the family, as they had not only lost their breadwinner but their protector, guide, and biggest support. Hasna and her family managed to escape Shaam to Reyhanli, Turkey.
Living in Turkey at the beginning was very difficult for Hasna’s family. Without any money, an income or even understanding the language, things seemed bleak and they all worried about the future. However, once they came to Springs of Hope, everything began to fall into place. Our team worked with Hasna and her family to be able to process their trauma and to be able to settle in this new country. Through our project, they have a safe and warm place to live, food, clothes, the chance to go to the best school in the city and make friends, as well as opportunities to study the Qur’an and Arabic.
When we asked Hasna what she wants to be when she grows up, she told us that she dreams of being a lawyer. She hopes to defend the rights of children and the rights of the oppressed because she knows the extent of the suffering that the people of Shaam, especially children, face.
This Refugee Week, Hasna and others fulfil their dreams of making a better world.
To find out more visit www.sktwelfare.org