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Seeking Refuge | World Vision

Mar 15 2017

Caring for those in Refugee Camps and Informal Settlements
The Syrian conflict has caused the largest displacement crisis in the world. There are over 4.8 million refugees and 6.3 million internally displaced people (IDPs). Even if children and families have fled Syria to neighbouring countries, significant risks remain including restricted access to services, education and capacity to work. Host communities are stretched and many refugees are living in poverty without sufficient access to basic needs and services. At least half of Syria’s refugees are children (at least 2.4 million) and at least 306,000 children have been born as refugees. 2.9 million Syrian children under the age of 5 have grown up knowing nothing but conflict. Children are at high risk of distress which can impact their long term development. If childhood is informed by violence and conflict – at a time when their brains are developing the fastest, that is providing the foundations for adulthood so children are put at great risk in terms of their long term development. Children face severe restrictions to accessing formal education and the impact of lost schooling will impact heavily on a future Syrian society, with significant losses in productivity and potential lifetime incomes. More than 2.5 million Syrian children are missing out on school. The protective function of education is well documented. Improving access to education protects children’s cognitive, psychological, social and physical wellbeing. Children who go to school are less likely to be subjected to child labour or child marriage and are better equipped to face their uncertain futures. Ensuring quality access for all refugee children is a difficult task and imposes a heavy burden on host governments. The governments of Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon have generously opened up their public school systems to Syrian refugee children by opening new schools, hiring more teachers and running double shifts in to create more classroom spaces. Yet, low levels of school enrolment for Syrian refugees persist across the region.

World Vision is an international community development organisation that has been engaging people to work towards eliminating poverty and its causes for six decades. World Vision provides short- and long-term assistance for 100 million people worldwide. Through relief and development, policy advocacy and change, collaboration, education about poverty, and emphasis on personal growth, social justice and spiritual values, World Vision works with people of all cultures, faiths and backgrounds to achieve transformation. World Vision has been working in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Northern Syria to provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable Syrians and communities hosting Syrian refugees. World Vision has provided assistance to refugees, IDPs and vulnerable host community members. This includes helping people access food, water, sanitation and hygiene services, shelter and emergency supplies such as blankets and warm clothing for winter. World Vision also provide child-focused support, such as safe spaces for children to learn, play and receive other forms of support.

Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) are for children who have fled Mosul & surrounding areas and are now living in IDP camps in Northern Iraq. The CFS can be in a camp or a community. It is a safe space for children aged 6-18 years, staffed by trained World Vision workers that seeks to create a sense of routine and normality for children who’ve been exposed to war and violence. A CFS offers child protection and education in emergencies such as psychosocial support in order to build resilience. Provision of education plays a key role in de-establishing any radical ideologies that children may have developed. In addition, the power of play and routine can help children develop positive coping strategies and means of self-expression in relation to their distressing experiences. Staff organise regular structured psychosocial support through recreational activities with children and youth to help them cope with the psychological and social effects of the conflict. CFSs are a safe place where children can meet other children, play and learn skills to deal with the effects of the events they have experienced.

World Vision’s Children in Emergencies programme aims to ensure sustained access to quality and inclusive education for Syrian refugees and vulnerable children from the host population, with a strategic focus on investing in a child’s early pre-school years through early childhood education. Families in this region have been displaced 5+ years and many children have no memory of Syria and have not been in school that whole time. They also face severe restrictions to accessing formal education in the Lebanese education system. Early Childhood Education classes are provided for 1,900 children aged 3-5 in semi-private schools. After children have participated in these ECE classes they are then able to enrol in the formal education system. The project promotes the skills and knowledge of parents of children aged 0-2 in order to help them create a positive home environment that maximises their baby’s growth and development. Parents of children aged 3-5 will be trained in Early Childhood Education home schooling. Referrals are made as required for parents of children with special needs, victims of violence or distressed individuals.

Together as a Sisterhood we are praying for the safety and protection of children and families who have been displaced from their homes and are seeking refuge. We pray for healing from trauma, access to education and healthy development for children. We pray for adequate funding, coordination and impact through World Vision’s work. We pray for peace in the region, for an end to displacement, and for people to be able to return home and rebuild.

Child Friendly Spaces, Outside of Mosul, Iraq
$200 AUD could provide 6 refugee children a Promise Pack including school supplies such as a backpack, notebook, pens and eraser and toothbrush, blanket and a note of encouragement so they know they have not been forgotten.

Early Childhood Education, Bekaa, Lebanon
$500 AUD could help 1 refugee child go through a targeted remedial education programme to catch up on missed learning and re-enrol in school at World Vision-managed remedial classes in schools and community centres.

Please note that if a project is completed we reserve the right to transfer any excess funds to another project.

If you are part of a local church we encourage you to be mindful of your local church vision and be sure to graciously submit and share your heart with those in leadership in your life. We believe we should see this as an ‘above and beyond’ endeavour that has the capacity to reach out and build bridges into our unchurched communities and ultimately be a blessing.

Send us an email at [email protected] as we would love to hear about how you raised funds for a project!