"At times it feels as if 45,000 little souls are free floating bubbles in space erring through the 530 hectares of the Za’atari desert. They are searching for that landing spot where they can find peace and a protecting warm hand; looking for the hug many parents have forgotten to give.
Often just one handshake will bring a smile to a lost face, but too often all I see are faces that are hard, strong, angry and full of hate against a life, which has not been good to them. And that is unbelievably sad. We are losing a generation.”
-Kilian Kleinschmidt, Manager of Za’atari Camp for Syrian Refugees
The world must act to save a generation of traumatised, isolated and suffering Syrian children from catastrophe. If we do not move quickly, this generation of innocents will become lasting casualties of an appalling war.
"It’s an old dilemma: Do we stay in the place of our identity, where we know the customs inside out? Or do we head for the distant unknown, with the hope of achieving greater personal fulfillment? Fruits or roots."
Humanitarian aid is critical in situations like the regional crisis centered in Syria; this is not to be contested. What should be questioned is how humanitarian aid is allocated.
People must have access to clean water, sanitation, shelter, food and medical care. But when Syrian refugees crossed borders into Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, one of the first questions they asked was whether their children would have access to education. Humanitarian funding by national governments for education in 2011 stood at 1.4 percent of overall funding, a minuscule sum given the need.
Education is a human right that does not stop when a conflict occurs. Education provides the foundation for economic recovery and for healthier lives, especially when girls are educated, and is what Syrian refugees and international displaced people are requesting.
If the humanitarian community, and those that fund humanitarian work, are not responding to the clear requests of those in need, can we truly say we are doing no harm?
Lori Heninger Director, Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies
"Some 2 million Syrian children have been displaced by the war and more than 1 million of them are now refugees in neighboring countries. One of the biggest challenges for international aid agencies is healing the invisible scars of war in the youngest victims.
'These children have seen terrible things, like bombings and people screaming and people dying, and they've smelled blood and smoke,' Chen says as she opens the course. 'For them, to be connected to the world feels like a very dangerous thing.'”
“In fact, it’s Egypt that has betrayed the Syrians who took refuge here. Faced with the impossible choice of siding with the regime or the rebels at home, they fled, only to become casualties in the messy aftermath of Egypt’s coup this summer.”
"At the same time, mechanisms for transitional justice inside of Syria will be needed after Asad falls to provide accountability and promote reconciliation in a shattered country. The focus should be on laying the foundations for cooperation across a deep, raw divide between the opposition and pro-regime constituencies following a transition. Steps need to be taken now to avoid retribution killings, looting, long-lasting disruptions of essential services and other pathologies which could quickly derail the transition. Arab transitional countries have consistently paid a steep price for setting aside such questions, a mistake Syria cannot afford to repeat."