Four years of war in Syria has led to the worst humanitarian crisis in a generation. Our teams are inside Syria giving children the basics they need to survive. They are also in neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon and Iraq, and along the whole route through Europe that refugees take, providing urgent relief as well as long-term aid to refugee children and their families. With no end to this crisis in sight, we continue to need your support to help more children.
10-year-old Bashira's* beautiful eyes have seen more than any child ever should. To protect herself, she has built a fantasy world. In that world she has a beautiful blue dress which makes her feel like a real princess.
Bashira would love to show us her dress, but her mother shakes her head sadly.
She explains: "There is no dress, there is nothing. Our house was destroyed during an air raid, so everything is burned. My daughter continues to pretend she still has that dress and her toys. My heart breaks when I see her hopeful eyes."
*name changed to protect identity
What's happening to children?
- More than 10,000 children have been killed; 5.6 million children need humanitarian aid.
- Inside Syria 3.5 million children have been forced from their homes.
- Nearly 2 million children have fled the country and are now living in over-stretched refugee camps or villages.
- Almost 3 million children are unable to go to school (2.3 million inside Syria, 685,000 refugees)
- 10 million people do not have enough to eat.
The most vulnerable children are those who remain inside Syria, who risk death, illness, abuse and exploitation on a daily basis. The humanitarian needs are incalculable but despite the widespread insecurity, our teams have so far helped 275,000 children and family members with food, safe water, medicine, and shelter.
Since March 2012, we have helped 496,000 people in Jordan, including 285,000 children. Food Vouchers and food packages are keeping children fed and our daily bread distribution reaches 72,000 people every day while our food vouchers help 75,000 people buy food for themselves and their families.
Last winter to protect refugee children from the cold in Lebanon we've distributed almost 20,000 blankets to 4,000 families. We've also given more than 35,000 people materials to protect where they are sheltering (whether tents or unfinished buildings) from the elements. Altogether, we have helped 431,000 people to date, including 302,000 children.
Across the region it's important to improve the water, sanitation and hygiene conditions for the Syrian refugee children and their families in order to prevent diseases. In Iraq we have conducted hygiene promotion awareness-raising sessions, launched clean-up and distributed hygiene kits in refugee camps. We've helped 88,600 people in Iraq, including 62,000 children.
Part of the way we help Syrian refugee children is helping them to be children again by trying to create an environment where they can play and learn. In Egypt, we've set up four safe places for this to happen. Across the Middle East, thousands of children have used these type of spaces. In Egypt we've so far helped 43,500 people, 26,000 of which are children.