Children are traumatised
As the violent conflict in Syria continues into its sixth year, children have already suffered too much.
Fighting has forced families to flee their homes, sometimes spending weeks making the dangerous journey to safe camps, facing snipers and landmines on the way. In protected camps outside Raqqa city, as many as 39,000 refugees have turned up in one day, often empty handed and with hungry and sick kids.
Young children have been exposed to extreme violence and they're traumatised.
They don't play, run or laugh like normal children. They don't engage with anyone. They look lost, weak and exhausted.
Today there is no place worse in the world to be a child, than in Syria.
2016 was the worst year on record for Syria's children
2016 scarred Syrian children for life. Along with millions of children being displaced from their homes, last year at least 652 children lost their lives in the conflict, many of whom were close to their school at the time.
In eastern Aleppo, doctors funded by UNICEF ran out of medicine and were forced to decide which children would live or die.
More than 850 children were recruited to fight in the conflict. The suffering Syria children endured last year is unimaginable.
How is UNICEF helping children in Syria?
Every single day, UNICEF is reaching children in Syria with life saving support.
As one of the few humanitarian agencies operating inside Syria, we are also helping refugee families in surrounding countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.
We're delivering billions of litres of fresh water every day, and providing children across the country with food, medicine, safe places to shelter from the fighting, and giving them the chance to learn in child-friendly spaces.
Last year, with the support of our generous donors, we provided 700,000 children with warm clothes and blankets to survive the harsh winter, and immunised 3.5 million children against polio, ensuring the country remained polio-free. We reached over 3 million children with textbooks, stationary and school bags to allow them to continue their education, and rehabilitated over 400 schools that had been damaged by the fighting.
We couldn't reach these vulnerable children without your help. Every dollar you donate makes a difference in their lives.
9 year old Fares was out of school, supporting his mother and younger brother by selling beans and waterpipe in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, when UNICEF found him. He desperately wanted to attend school, but his family's financial situation prevented him from doing so. "Register me in any school you want", he told UNICEF when we interviewed him, "I’d like to become an engineer or a doctor."
Fares' story mirrors those of hundreds of thousands of Syrian children and the barriers they face in getting an education.
But thanks to UNICEF donors who are helping to provide educational support and learning materials for children in Lebanon, Fares is now in school and learning to read and write for the first time in his life.
How can I help children?
UNICEF is one of the few organisations working for children inside Syria and in surrounding countries.
As the conflict continues into it's sixth year, children desperately need clean drinking water, therapeutic food, warm blankets, medicine, vaccines and counselling services for the trauma they've experienced.
You can be a part of saving these young lives by making a donation that helps provide urgent supplies to children who need it most.