As the world focuses on the plight of Syrian refugees, one thing has become clear. This is not just a refugee crisis – it is also a child crisis.
So what do Syrian children want to tell the world about their lives? Last year, as part of Universal Children’s Day, Syrian children were encouraged to draw what was on their minds. The results are equal parts heartbreak and hope.
Riyad: “I wish that Syria can start over again”
Riyad fled the heavy bombings in Syria to Jordan 13 months ago and has been living in a refugee camp ever since.
“The dove resembles peace, and the green olive branch represents the hope to return to Syria after the war ends,” says Riyad. “I wish that the war ends soon. And I wish for us to return, open a new chapter and start over, build a peaceful, beautiful country without hatred.”
Drawing is one of Riyad’s favourite hobbies and that is why he participated in the contest.
Amira: “Syria is like a lit candle that will never turn off”
Amira and her family fled their home and came to Jordan 13 months ago. They have been living there ever since.
“I drew a candle because it resembles hope and the brightness of the future. Syria is like a lit candle that will never turn off, no matter how difficult the situation is now.
Amira is ambitious and has big dreams for her future
“I want to have a cause, to help people become stronger. I want to finish school and study fine arts in university to become a famous artist. I want to paint beautiful flowers and colourful nature.”
Zaida: “I want to see this beautiful view again”
Zaida and her family fled their home 16 months ago.
“I wanted to participate because I felt like my life here is dull. I wanted to do something interesting. I drew myself at a waterfall and made sure to use bright colours for my painting to show how beautiful Syria is. I want to see this beautiful view again. It shows spring seasons, when trees grow green, plants, flowers and fruits blossom and grow. Drawing is my hobby and seeing beautiful nature relaxes my heart and makes me happy.”
Zaida also wants to help rebuild her country when she returns:
“I want to help rebuild our house and then help my grandparents rebuild their house because they are old and need help.”
Rusayla: “We children love peace”
Rusayla and her family fled to Jordan from Syria and have been living in a refugee camp for the last 16 months.
“I wanted to show people my talent. My drawing shows a dove that is flying from Syria to Jordan. The dove and the olive tree represent peace. UNHCR and CARE support and give us peace. We children love peace, we adore peace and we want to support peace.”
Rusayla loves school and studying. “I want to keep studying. I want to reach as high in my studies as one can possibly reach.”
Rauf: “I want to be a carpenter and rebuild people’s houses”
Rauf and his family arrived to their refugee camp the day it opened. He painted a boat to remember his grandfather, who was a fisherman and owned a boat.
“We need to remember where we come from. I wanted to participate because my friends participated. I wanted to compete with my friends and win.”
Rauf wants to have a profession to help reconstruct Syria when he goes back.
“My eldest brother is a carpenter and I also wish to be a carpenter when I grow up. I want to help people rebuild their homes.”
Umar: “We want a peaceful, safe and happy Syria”
Umar fled his home in Syria 14 months ago. Fighting escalated in his neighbourhood and his family was not safe anymore.
“I participated in the contest because I wanted to tell the world that we want a peaceful, safe and happy Syria. I wish Syria returns to peace. And I wish to go back and contribute to rebuilding our homeland.”
Nafis: “My home country Syria is like a rose and every Syrian city is a petal of this rose”
Nafis and his family fled their home 16 months ago when the fighting escalated and many people were arrested. They are now in Jordan.
“The rose resembles how I feel and think about Syria. My country Syria is like a rose and every Syrian city is a petal of this rose. I painted this rose because I want Syria to flourish and blossom again. I want every city to become lively and happy again; the streets, the markets, everything.”
Nafis dreams of becoming an international football star one day.
Over half of the 12 million Syrians in need are children. Without assistance, Syrian children are at risk of becoming a lost generation. Please help CARE reach children and their families affected by conflict and displaced from their homes today by donating to our Syrian Refugee Crisis Appeal.
*CARE is committed to being a child safe organisation. Names of children have been changed.