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Three Practical Ways to Help Syrian Children Right Now

September 25, 2014 by Open Doors in ,

image by Kristin Wright, Director of Advocacy at Open Doors USA Twitter-@bykristinwright I’m sitting inside the small home of a Syrian refugee family in Beirut, Lebanon, watching 8-year-old Sarah show me her homework. “Look at the eyes!- she giggles, pointing at two googly eyes pasted onto the small bag she uses to store her pencils and erasers. Sarah is learning English at a small, unaccredited school for refugee children in Beirut. With 2.8 million Syrian children out of school due to the conflict, Sarah’s family was grateful to enroll her in a small school operated by a local aid organization. She lights up when she talks about her classes – the activities keep her busy, help to take her mind off of the horror she and her family experienced in Syria. 6.5 million children have been impacted by the violent conflict in Syria. Think of it – millions of children are living the most formative years of their lives inside a war zone. As I sat in Sarah’s home, I started thinking through some of the very practical things that we can each do to support her and the millions of other children just like her. Here is the list I started writing that day: Help Open Doors construct “child-friendly spaces- for Syrian children I was thrilled to visit some of the practical, hands-on projects for children that Open Doors is operating in Lebanon and Syria. One of the most powerful aspects of our work on the ground is the creation of child-friendly spaces, designated areas where children can simply be children. These are safe, supervised spaces where refugee children can:

  • play games
  • draw pictures
  • eat snacks
  • watch videos
  • get to know other children
  • sing songs
  • talk about their experiences

When I think about the Sarah’s of Syria, children who have seen their homes and schools bombed, family members killed in front of their eyes, witnessed conflict in all of its terror, I want to cry. It makes me realize how important these child friendly spaces really are. Through spaces like these we can begin to reclaim the lost childhoods of millions of children. And this is just one of the many things Open Doors is doing in this region. You can join in this effort today and supply for needed programs like this. Watch and share the new #WithSyria video Awareness is crucial when it comes to supporting Syrian children. Many people have no idea of the depth of suffering that Syrian children are enduring. That’s one of the reasons why Open Doors is partnering with a powerful new campaign titled #WithSyria. If you have just 90 seconds, watch this short but powerful video portraying the reality of life on the ground in Syria. Then, take a moment to share this video with your friends and let them know what Open Doors is doing on the ground in Syria and Lebanon to help children affected by the conflict. Sign the #WithSyria campaign petition Make your voice heard. Ask world leaders to act now to end the bombing of Syrian civilians. In Syria daily bombings target schools, hospitals and other residential areas. In February, the UN Security Council demanded that indiscriminate attacks in Syria stop. It promised to take further steps if these attacks continued. We need to use our voices to hold the UN Security Council to its word. Take a moment to sign this petition and share it with your friends. You can make a difference for Syrian children As I look back over my recent visits with Syrian refugees in Lebanon, I’m devastated by the pain I’ve witnessed. But I’m so encouraged by our partners on the ground in this crisis. So many lives have been shattered by the war. That’s why Open Doors isn’t just handing out aid, we’re working to build relationships with people, and address their needs in a holistic way, providing trauma counseling, schools for children, and spaces where children and adults can find community and support. I hope you will join us in raising awareness, speaking out, and practically supporting Syrian families. Thank you for standing with Syria. Thank you for being a voice for those who are suffering!

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