UNHCR research published today has found that Syrian refugee children are out of school, either working as breadwinners or confined to their homes, which are often crammed apartments, makeshift shelters or tents.
The research, conducted in Lebanon and Jordan over four months, shows that 29 per cent of children interviewed said that they leave their home once a week or less. In both countries, the researchers found that children, as young as seven years old, are working long hours for little pay, sometimes in dangerous or exploitative conditions. 80 per cent of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and 56 per cent in Jordan are not receiving formal schooling.
Over 1.1 million Syrian children are refugees. Many have been wounded physically, psychologically or both. 43 of 202 children interviewed said that at least one of their immediate family members was either dead, detained or missing. Parents report children suffering sleep problems, flashbacks to the war, bedwetting and speech difficulties. Drawing during registration interviews, children as young as four or five have drawn images of rockets, guns, blood and houses that have been destroyed.
“If we do not act quickly, a generation of innocents will become lasting casualties of an appalling war”, said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.
This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 29 November 2013
You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.