Children have paid the heaviest price in the Syrian six-year war, yet they continue to dream of a brighter future.
No child is spared the horror of the war in the Syrian Arab Republic, where children come under attack on a daily basis. More than 1.7 million children are out of school. Yet amid the horrors and suffering, children affected by the Syrian crisis continue to dream of a brighter future. In late 2016, drawings by children at UNICEF-supported psychosocial support programmes illustrate their sorrow and joy.
© UNICEF/UN058012/Al- Malek
“Men with guns walked in and forced us out of school. They pointed the guns at us and told us to go home and never go back to school” says Haneen, 11, of the day her parents decided to flee from ISIS rule. “Syria is sad that her people are killing each other” she says of her drawing.
“I drew myself and my sister crying when my father left us almost two years ago. We don’t know anything about him. This is my saddest memory” says Myassar, 14, whose family were displaced when violence erupted in Al-Yarmouk, home to the largest Palestinian refugee population in the Syrian Arab Republic.
© UNICEF/UN058011/Al- Malek
“I miss this really big red teddy bear I received from my cousin on my birthday, I left it back home” says Ghazal, 10, holding up a picture she drew of what her life was like before violence forced her family out of their home in Al- Tadamon almost four years ago.
“I drew myself seeing my father off at the airport, it’s my saddest memory. I look at a photo of him every night so I don’t forget what he looks like” says Aya, 11, whose father left for Egypt almost five years ago to work and provide for the family.
Aya hasn’t seen him since.
“I love sport, especially swimming. I wish I learn how to swim and be a fast swimmer” says Khaled, 13, holding up a picture of a big house with a pool. Khaled was injured during heavy fighting in east Aleppo and is seeking refuge with his family in the Jibreen area outside Aleppo.
“This drawing shows my mother pushing my father on his wheelchair and me crying […] It makes me so sad to see my father unable to do anything on his own. I miss him talking to me” says Amar, 12, whose father suffered a debilitating stroke after her two brothers disappeared.
“It has been a very long time since I ate fruit,” says 11-year-old Shadi describing his drawing showing bananas, oranges and mandarins.
Shadi is one of thousands of children who fled the fighting in east Aleppo after months under siege with little food and sheltering in basements.