Aid & Development

Children overcoming the psychological trauma of seven years of war, Syria

Middle East

Children from Syria have been psychologically traumatised by the war that has affected their country for 7 years. NGOs and volunteers from Kuwait went to refugee camps in Lebanon in order to provide the children with education.

A Kuwaiti organisation has set up a support and recreation centre for children and young people in a refugee camp in Lebanon. The centre provides rehabilitation and social activities for children and young people that have experienced profound psychological trauma during Syria’s seven year conflict.

“There are some children who did not have the ability to enter school or afford its fees. We have provided school fees for nearby schools,” said one of the volunteer leaders at the centre. “We have a bus that takes them from here to school and brings them back. In addition to that, we brought them special tutors.”

According to the United Nations, 43% of the estimated five million displaced children and young people from Syria are not receiving an education. In addition, many displaced Syrian children have suffered from the loss of one or both of their parents, or other close relatives. Their suffering is further compounded by the chronic poverty and aid shortages that many are forced to endure.

One such family of three children, who lost both of their parents to the conflict, were adopted by a man and his daughter after the children arrived at the camp by themselves.

“I live with my daughter and these children live with us,” said the children’s adopted father. “Their mother left them and went, she disappeared and their father is dead, so we are raising them.”

One of the children, Shahad, a six year girl, has suffered from restricted growth due to the trauma of war and the chronic malnutrition she has endured since the loss of her mother when she was younger.

Although Shahad and her siblings are now under the care of their adopted family in Lebanon, they all require extensive, ongoing therapy and rehabilitation to help them overcome the trauma they have been subjected to so early on in their lives.

The support and recreation centre, which is run by volunteers, is providing the children with an important first step in the rehabilitation process. Through occupational therapy and the return to school, the children can begin to experience a return to normality and a means of putting aside the negative memories of their lives in a conflict zone.