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Lives of Syrians Changed by War
   2016-05-04 16:34:51    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Fei Fei

Syrian women and children stand in front of their caravan home in Za'atari Refugee Camp in northern Jordan on Monday, March 21, 2016. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com / Zhang Jin]

The conflict in Syria has changed the lives of millions of people as they seek refuge from the fighting in neghbouring countries.

It's especially hard for children and young adults, many of whom now have no experience of their homeland.

As CRI's Spencer Musick reports, a whole generation is growing up in refugee camps with poor education and a fractured family life.


Although three years have passed, Umm Khaled still remembers clearly how she escaped from Syria to neighbouring Jordan.

"We came through an area on the Iraqi border to Jordan. We call it "the death road". It was really difficult to go through, very close to the air strikes, and there was fighting and shooting everywhere. Many people died on the way."

Gavin David White, the external relations officer of the Za'atari Refugee Camp in northern Jordan, says that's why psychological services are offered to refugees.

"Psycho-social support is part of the package of services to refugees, should they need it, depending on particular circumstances. Bearing in mind that every refugee that left Syria has gone through a considerable trauma to live, and of course with experience everything in relation to the conflict to cross border, so many individuals carry that with them when they arrived in the camp."

Inevitably, Children are especially vulnerable under such circumstances.

Umm Khaled says many suffered trauma at the beginning of the war, and also on arrival in Jordan.

"They didn't really understand what's going on. At the beginning they couldn't accepting the new educational system. They were refusing to go to school."

Her niece Isra is one such case. The 15-year-old girl has been living in Za'atari camp for two years. Although there are nine schools there, she has stopped going to school.

"I went to school here. I tried the 8th grade. The education system is very different from that in Syria. I didn't like the system of education here, so I stopped. My dream is for the situation in Syria to calm down, because I really want to go back to my country. I will continue with my study and become a teacher. I'm sure I will go back to Syria soon."

Among some 80,000 refugees now living in the Za'atari Refugee Camp, 57 percent are youths, and about 20 percent are children under 5 years old.

Currently about two thirds of school age children in the refugee camp are enrolled in schools, and many parents say they are not happy about the quality of the education.

"The schools here are not recognized. Our kids used to be excellent students in schools, now we don't have official education for them."

Muhammad Ramadan has three children, all under 5 years old.

"The kids get bored. They can only play with neighbouring kids. We get electricity at 4pm and then we switch the TV on so that they can watch some TV. From 4 to 9 o'clock they watch TV and then they sleep."

Ramadan is also sad that the children have been removed from the bonds of family life.

"They are far away from the big family, cousins and uncles. They don't know their grandparents. They only know their parents. They are disconnected from the family."

For the little children in Za'atari, the refugee camp is the only world they know, and Syria is just a far-away place.

For CRI, I'm Spencer Musick.

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