Seven-year-old Hasan is just one of many children displaced by the conflict in Syria. And with the war now into its sixth year, fighting is all he’s ever known.
Every day, vulnerable children like Hasan wake up in exposed, make-shift shelters which offer little protection from the elements. Families struggle to survive here, with food, medicine and clean water in short supply. And as another freezing winter looms, the threat against children is steadily growing.
Winter in Syria and surrounding countries is incredibly harsh. With temperatures dropping below freezing, children face snow storms, icy winds and the bitter cold with little more than the clothes on their back. These kids don’t have coats, or jumpers – some don’t even have shoes.
Desperate for warmth, children like Hasan can spend hours each day collecting items to burn for warmth. These are hours that they are being robbed of a childhood. And an education.
Syrian children want to go to school. To learn, to play and to build on their hopes and dreams for the future. And UNICEF knows just how important schools are for children like Hasan, who have experienced trauma and conflict – it provides the stability and routine that a child needs to cope with loss, fear, stress and violence.
Yet as temperatures plummet, the cold classrooms are driving countless Syrian children away from learning.
UNICEF is working around the clock to reach children with thermal blankets and warm winter clothing, as well as power to heat classrooms through the winter. These desperately needed supplies will not only save lives, but give children a chance of a brighter future.
Hasan, who had never seen the inside of a classroom, now attends a UNICEF-supported school in Jibreen, attended by more than 600 internally displaced children.
His teacher noted that he didn’t talk to other children during his first weeks, but that “slowly Hasan started interacting with other students and his teachers.” She added that given this support he has “gained confidence and is now one of the brightest children in his class.”
“I love school because I have so much fun,” Hasan exclaimed.
UNICEF wants more children like Hasan to have an education and a proper childhood. But the harsh winter looming over Syrian children stands in the way. This threat against children in very real – already weak from hunger and living in appalling conditions, children are especially vulnerable to sickness and death brought about by the cold.
Your support can help children like Hasan receive the life-saving warm clothes that they desperately need, while helping UNICEF keep safe-spaces like schools warm - so that Syrian children continue to receive the emotional and mental support that they need to overcome the horrors they’ve experienced.
Just $21 can help keep a child safe, warm and in school.
Please donate today and help transform a child’s life.