In partnership with UNRWA, our team brought together Syrian and Jordanian children studying and playing together in one of Jordan’s host communities, Baqaa, on the outskirts of Amman, in order to mark the third anniversary.
The devastating impact of the conflict weighs heavily on parents. Hamdo, who comes from a town near Damascus but now lives in a small flat in Baaqa, Jordan, said: “I left Syria because of the children. They were suffering both physically and mentally – whenever they heard planes and trucks they were terrified and they would scream.
When they arrived in Jordan they were still scared of loud noises – they thought they heard gunfire. My little daughter who is now six remembers our home; she cries all the time and even though we left when she was four she still remembers her toys and the children she used to play with.”
Hamdo worries what future his children have ahead of them.
“I dream of peace”
Every child has hopes and dreams. A group of 70 Syrian and Jordanian children who came together at a school in Baqaa pasted illustrations of theirs onto red balloons that were released in the sky – to mark the beginning of a week of vigils taking place around the world in solidarity with people affected by the Syria crisis. With boundless energy they chased the balloons around the playground together.
“I dream of peace”, twelve-year-old Yasmin wrote onto her balloon. She arrived in Jordan a year and a half ago from the Syrian city of Daraa and hopes to go back to Syria to one day study to become a doctor.
The children and their teachers talked about the support and generosity that Jordanian families have shown to the refugees. Ismail, a 10-year-old Jordanian child, said: “I hope that my [Syrian] friends’ country will go back to the way it used to be. We always like to help our Syrian neighbours. The other day we gave them a cupboard, and my dad helped them roll out the carpet, we also gave them some clothes to wear.”
But everyone is getting tired of waiting. It is time for world leaders to put the children of Syria first and ensure that they have a future to return to. Governments must push the parties to the conflict to end the bloodshed, ensure all those in need of life-saving aid can access it and commit to inclusive peace talks.
As people come together on Thursday 13th March to hold vigils around the world, from London to Hong Kong, and Darfur to Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, the hopes of Syrian children will be shared by millions of others.
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Joel Bassuk is Oxfam International Digital Comunications Manager.
A version of this blog originally appeared at blogs.oxfam.org