An old soccer ball. A few glass marbles. A colourful jacket that’s now too small.
Stories from the field
- Omar's story
These objects might seem mundane, but for Syrian refugee children, they spark joy and bring back memories of home. They are precious possessions for children like Omar, caught between two worlds: one of play, laugher and childhood innocence, the other of hunger, fear and emotional trauma.
“We used to have a very calm and beautiful life in Syria. Now it’s the opposite. We suffered a lot during the war, having to move from one place to another to escape the shooting and bombing
,” says Omar.
We lost our luggage, and at one point, I thought we were going to lose each other.
It’s distressing to know that young children like Omar have seen things most of us can’t even imagine. And even worse that they are now facing another challenge—growing up in a refugee camp.
In the six years since the conflict began, more than 5.1 million people have left Syria to escape the brutal fighting. Many have fled to nearby Jordan, where resources are stretched thin.
Local schools simply don’t have room to accept more students, and Syrian refugee children are at risk of being left behind. But thanks to courageous people across Australia standing up for refugees, children like Omar are being given the chance of a normal childhood.
Through the funds you raised in the Ration Challenge, Syrian children will attend educational workshops, access safe places to play, connect with other children, and learn essential reading and writing skills they need for a better future.
In the workshops, children are encouraged to stand up and tell their story to their classmates, building confidence, self-esteem, and providing an emotional outlet.
I discovered that I am patient and also that I care about other people’s feelings. I discovered a lot of things that I didn’t know about myself before,
On his journey from Syria, Omar showed his strength and resilience. And despite what he’s suffered, he hasn’t lost his compassion and kindness for others.
When I grow up, I want to be a doctor so I can help poor people who can’t afford medical care.
In addition to ensuring Syrian children can attend classes, you’re also helping deliver urgently-needed food rations so families like Omar’s don’t go to bed hungry. After everything that they have gone through, your support lets families know that they are not alone.
“I want to thank the people in Australia because they do care about the Syrian people’s feelings. You are supporting us and I hope that one day I can come and visit and see your beautiful country,”