After ten years of war, help Syrian children build their future
On 15 March 2021, the Syrian conflict marks its tenth anniversary. For ten years now the Syrian war is still one of the most complex and protracted crises at a global level. This is the result of continued hostilities in localised areas, continue displacement, spontaneous returns and the sustained erosion of communities’ resilience. Hostilities and insecurity are expected to continue, most notably in the north-west, which still generate additional civilian displacement. Bombing and shelling have forced hundreds of thousands more people to move in the desperate attempt to find safety in north-west Syria.
Overall, an estimated 11.1 million people are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance in 2020, including 4.7 million people in acute need, furthermore 6.7 million individuals are internally displaced persons (IDPs). Economic shocks coupled with the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19 stand to further increase the number of people in need during the remainder of 2020 and beyond. Those particularly at risk are children, pregnant and lactating women, young girls, people with disabilities, the elderly and other groups or individuals with specific needs or diminished coping mechanisms. Furthermore, eight in ten people in Syria live below poverty line.
Children, the first victims of the war: Syrian children have known nothing but war. They have learned to hide at the first sound of bombs, they have said goodbye to their loved ones and friends forced to emigrate or who have been killed in the fighting. But above all, they risk being deprived of their future. At the end of 2019, was already estimated that 2.45 million Syrian children, or one in three, were not attending school.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 crisis has pushed a further 50% out of the education system, with the result that two thirds of children do not go to school and risk falling into the trap of child labour.
The lack of access to education by Syrian children risks having a devastating impact on the future of the country. The education sector is in dire need of resources, and donors should fund interventions designed to lift families out of poverty.
Caritas wants to support children in places of education and schools, strongly affected by COVID-19. Meals served will be in line with international nutrition indicators, increasing attendance and energy in children.
One major challenge of COVID-19 is the pandemic diffusion among children and its consequent transmission to adults. Caritas wants to launch highly child oriented workshops, educating children on the correct use of WASH systems and hygiene, preventing the spreading of contagion.