The Syrian crisis: an ongoing emergency for refugee children
When will there be an end in sight for the Syrian crisis, already in its eighth year? Every day, the horrors continue. Ongoing violence in areas such as Ghouta has made a political solution increasingly unlikely. Most refugees are currently living in neighbouring countries, where millions of children have never known anything but war and exile. Tdh has launched a new project to give this generation of young people the possibility to experience childhood and to build brighter futures.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 5.5 million people, including nearly 3 million children, have fled Syria since the crisis began in spring 2011. The difficulties of those travelling through Greece and along the Balkans route have captured the world’s attention. But what of the vast majority of child refugees living in the countries bordering Syria?
With no end in sight to the conflict, the future of these children is increasingly bleak. Many are forced to leave school due to overcrowding, discrimination and violence. Some are made to work by parents experiencing financial problems. The lack of educational opportunities has led to an increase in child marriage and domestic violence.
In Lebanon and Jordan, currently home to more than 1.6 million refugees, children face extremely precarious situations, as a result of limited access to health care, education and housing. In Lebanon, seven in ten Syrian refugees live below the poverty line. In Jordan, this figure rises to nine in ten for refugees living outside camps.
Refugees are not the only ones suffering from this situation. Host communities have also experienced a drop in living standards. This forced cohabitation has led to increased tensions and pressure.
Helping refugees rebuild their lives
Given the ongoing emergency situation, Tdh is focusing on developing long-lasting solutions. These help build resilience, which means helping victims to develop their capacity to adapt and to rebuild their lives, but also improve the capacities of local actors and take children’s needs and rights into consideration. As part of our efforts to support young Syrians affected by the crisis, Tdh has launched a new project building on existing operations in Lebanon and Jordan.
With support from local partners,* Tdh is working towards three goals: identifying the most vulnerable children and providing one-on-one psychological and social support through non-formal education, recreational or sports activities. Other priorities of the project are raising awareness among children and their families and the prevention of child-related risks; and building the competencies of local partners and communities.
To maximize the project’s impact, Tdh aims to empower young people to support respect for children’s rights in their families and communities through the creation of youth committees. Our goal is to support more than 5000 Syrian children and children from host communities, benefitting 41,000 people in difficulty.
*In Lebanon, Tdh works closely with the Lebanese NGO Insan, which has protected the rights of marginalized groups (including migrant workers and refugees) for 20 years. In Jordan, two local community-based organizations run activities. This new project will be rolled out with financial support from the European Union (EU) and the French Development Agency (AFD – Agence française de développement).The opinions in this article do not represent the official position of the European Union.