Wavel Refugee Camp, Lebanon—Oct. 1, 2013— Mercy corps staff, including psychologist Fatima Hamie, work and play with Palestinian children who are refugees from Syria at Wavel Refugee Camp near Baalbeck, Lebanon. Mercy corps has worked in Lebanon since 1995 and operate this children’s psycho-social program for kids in conjunction with The Aljalil Center inside the former French Army barracks that has been a refugee camp for Palestinians since 1948. When the Syrian civil war started, Wavel again took in new refugees. Photo by Jamie Francis/The Oregonian
Mercy Corps photographer Sumaya Agha recently visited Syrian refugee families in Jordan, and writes:
Even in such tragic circumstances, the kids I’ve met have such a natural inclination toward hope that they focus on what brings them happiness. And I hope we can help them hold on to that.
Life was good for Mohammed and Amna Lelayesh, a couple in their mid-40s. He built houses and she minded their four children while studying for a degree in theology.
Then on February 12, 2012, about 50 rockets fell on their neighborhood outside of Damascus. They grabbed the small travel bags they kept prepared and fled immediately.
"I want to go back more than anything," Amna says, with tears in her eyes. "We had everything: a house, property, family, friends. Here we are lonely and isolated."
Photo: Sumaya Agha/Mercy Corps
Fadi Kaheel, 11, is one of many Syrian refugee children who participated in a recent photography workshop in Lebanon, part of our Moving Forward program there.
The goal is to help young Syrian refugees — most of whom feel scared and isolated — integrate into their new community and develop self-esteem, teamwork and coping skills by participating with Lebanese kids in sports, support groups, and creative projects like theater, filmmaking and photojournalism.
For Fadi, the photography workshop also meant making new friends and gaining a deeper understanding of his host community in Lebanon. Read more about his story and see some of his photographs from the workshop.
Photo:Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps
For millions of young people who are caught in Syria’s civil war, school is out of reach — and has been for quite some time.
Aya, 17, has one year of high school to finish, but there is no school she can attend to complete her studies. She worries about her future.
Photo: Sumaya Agha/Mercy Corps
Ten-year-old Omran loves playing soccer with his friends because it reminds him of home. You can help Syrian refugee children like Omran find safety and relief after trauma.
The only solace is the humanity shown by the neighboring countries in welcoming and saving the lives of so many refugees.
Our Country Director Rob Maroni shows one of the playgrounds we are constructing at Azraq, a new camp being built in Jordan to host up to 130,000 Syrians.
As more families are expected to flee the escalating violence in Syria, aid groups in Jordan are working around the clock to get the new camp up and running this month. Find out what it takes to build a “city” from scratch in the desert.