Syrian refugee children find safety in Lebanon

World Vision’s Child-Friendly Spaces offer a safe haven for children impacted by war.

By Patricia Mouamar, World Vision Lebanon, and Kathryn Reid, World Vision U.S.
Published October 22, 2012 at 12:00am PDT

After her father was killed and her mother injured in an attack in their neighborhood in Syria, Nagham, age 8, fled with her two younger siblings, an older brother, and her aunt, Laila.

A safe place for children

“We had to get the children out from there and come to Lebanon,” says Laila. “But their mother had to stay, as she was hit [in the attack and unable to travel].”

Nagham sits with the others in a World Vision children’s center in Lebanon. Sharing art, games, and snacks at the center twice a week boosts her spirits.

“Every time she comes from the center, I feel she is happier and happier,” says Laila. “She always brings some kind of drawing or craft with her, and now she wants to take her 6-year-old sister with her, too.”

Refugees pour over borders

The number of refugees pouring into neighboring countries from conflict-ridden Syria has tripled in the last three months, according to UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency.

Together, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq are hosting more than 300,000 Syrians. More than 80,800 of them are in Lebanon, though the number could reach 120,000 by the end of 2012.

World Vision’s response

“World Vision is adjusting its response [in Lebanon] to prepare for longer-term solutions and winterization for the thousands of women and children who fled into the Bekaa Valley,” says national director Anita Delhaas-van Dijk.

In addition to operating four Child-Friendly Spaces, World Vision distributed hygiene kits and food vouchers to refugee families. More than 10,000 refugees benefited from food vouchers during September alone. World Vision estimates that number will increase 10 percent per month through December 2012.

World Vision has worked in the Bekaa Valley for ten years, addressing health and education needs.

How you can help

Pray for children and families impacted by the violence in Syria. Pray especially for families who have been separated due to the conflict, and pray for emotional and physical protection for vulnerable children and families.

Make a one-time gift to help Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Your gift will help us provide basic hygiene kits and food vouchers for refugee families, as well as established Child-Friendly Spaces to provide affected children with a safe place to play, learn, and interact with their peers.