Syria (MNN) — More than half of all Syrian refugees are under the age of 18, and the struggles for these refugee children are significant. Gone are the days of school and play. And what they have witnessed makes them vulnerable to health risks and exploitation.
Nearly 80% of all Syrian refugee children have experienced a death in their immediate families.
More than half of the children have been witness to physical assault or death, and one-third of those Syrian refugee children have been assaulted themselves. They are in desperate need of food, water, shelter, and safety.
Food for the Hungry, in cooperation with partner organizations and the local church in the Middle East, has not only worked to provide for the physical needs of Syrian refugee children but is also addressing the emotional and spiritual needs by creating child-friendly spaces.
Peter Howard, Senior Director of Emergency Response, says the spaces do more than offer a place to play. “When you take children out of school for years–and we’re moving into the fifth year now of this crisis, it has a massive impact not only on their intellectual development but their emotional and spiritual development.” The safe spaces offer educational programs and recreation time. And they provide even more.
Howard shares, “We’re supporting these child-friendly spaces where children can learn and be children in the midst of crisis, and in some cases, even work through the trauma that they’ve had to deal with at far too young of an age.”
Visit fh.org/syria to learn more about all that’s being done for Syrian refugees through Food for the Hungry, and join in the effort to support the local Christian response in the Middle East. Howard says the partnership demonstrates the power of the Gospel, “cause it really is an opportunity to express to the world and to those suffering who Jesus and who we are people who serve in the name of Jesus, the church–and how and what Christians look like.”