Forgetting the sounds of the war

May 01, 2018

Ali, proudly wearing a purple sweatshirt and brown trousers, could not wipe the smile off his face while he was making shapes out of playdough with his brother at the Child Friendly Space, “it’s my favorite thing to play with,” says Ali. “I also really like playing soccer here.”  With support from Irish Aid, this Child Friendly Space was set up by World Vision to support refugee children affected by the Syrian Crisis.

Just like any child you meet, Ali has dreams of what he wants to be in the future, “a doctor,” he says, “I want to grow up and treat people.” That is a dream that we hope he realizes one day.

Ali has had a lot of trouble letting go of the sounds he used to hear before they came to the camp four years ago. His parents expressed how much of a toll on him it took, but these safe spaces have proved to be a great support to the family, just as much as it has been for Ali. “I’m happy there’s a safe space like this where I can send Ali to learn new things and have fun,” says Ahmad. “I’ve noticed how much this place has helped him forget about the sounds of the war, look at how he’s playing with no care in the world.”

Ali could not play outside when the family was still in Aleppo, “He was unable to play outside because of all the shelling, it was only when we came here that we all felt safe.” His parents also did not want him be stuck in a tent all day, and playing in the refugee camp could be dangerous so he didn’t really have the space to play before he attended the Child Friendly Space. Even though Ali is attending school (he’s in first grade), it is in this space where he can fully feel like a child with the help of the World Vision staff. “We used to always see children leave this space and they were so happy,” Ahmad says. “I went in one day and asked how I could sign up for my son to attend.” Now, thanks to this project, Ahmad can be one of the parents who receives a smiling face every time he picks up his son Ali from the Child Friendly Space. 

The World Vision Child Friendly Space has supported over 1,200 Syrian Refugee children inside the Bab Al Salamah Refugee Camp.

Thanks to the Irish public these children have an escape from the terrors they have been exposed to as a result of conflict. In these Child Friendly Spaces they have a chance to receive counselling and play. They can be children again here and that’s the best gift that you can give them.

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