Shortly before Christmas I was invited along with a handful of other bloggers, to World Vision’s UK base in London. World Vision have been involved in helping with the crisis in Syria since it started almost 6 years ago.
World Vision wanted us to learn more about the children and families affected by the Syrian crisis. OCHA (Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs) estimates that during these 5+ years, 12.2 million Syrian families (including 5.6 million children) have been affected by either violence, homelessness, poverty or starvation to such an extent that they are in need of humanitarian assistance. Prior to 2010, these were ordinary families, working parents, children attending school, living in nice homes.
OSHA state that 4.3 million Syrians have had to seek refuge in neighbouring countries – Countries that are struggling to keep up with the demand. We have all seen the horrific images and heard news reports of refugees that through desperation, have unsuccessfully attempted to cross seas to reach safety.
During our day at World Vision, we were told that numbers of refugees attempting these journeys were set to rise dramatically throughout the winter. However, although the risk of drowning was still present, the most pressing need was to stop people freezing to death once they reach refugee camps.
We heard about lovely stories of human kindness and friendship. Sing songs in the camps to keep spirits high and children happily playing football.
We were each given our own case study of a Syrian child beforehand – My girl is Alissar, aged 10. World Vision caught up with her at a refugee camp, trying to cross the border into Germany to be reunited with her mother. Alissar was definitely one of the lucky ones, she was accompanied by an Aunt and was fairly safe. I think the people at World Vision knew I couldn’t handle some of the other case studies that my fellow bloggers were given.
You can find out more about Alissar’s story in this short video:
I found it hard to think how easily this has all happened. How quickly it could happen to one, if not all of us. I have to gloss over the possibility that my own children could be in this situation – just too awful to think about. Just this week in St Helens, there are talks about an old stately home, disused for now, being used to home Syrian families that desperately need shelter. Social media channels have gone crazy with comments like ‘we should look after our own’ ‘wish I lived somewhere that nice’. I really believe its a lack of knowledge that fuels these statements – Surely we can’t be so heartless to allow families nearby to starve and freeze to death?
World Vision are actually visiting Jordan this week. Tanya from Mummy Barrow has been touring the area, visiting families and camps over the past couple of days. Read more about her amazing experiences here
You can find out more about the work that World Vision does and how we can help, on their website