By Kulsoom Rizvi, Children's Rights Correspondent for Safeworld. July 2014. Photos by Kulsoom ©
Kulsoom Rizvi reports on her recent trip to Erbil, northern Iraq, where she was volunteering at the Akre Refugee Camp.
On the walls of a dreary, rundown Saddam-era prison are vivid murals of stories, hopes and memories of children shattered by the Syrian war...
Children and youth have become the worst victims of the three-year Syrian conflict, bearing witness to unspeakable horrors, suffering both physically and psychologically. They have experienced first-hand conflict, destruction and brutal violence.
Over a million Syrian children are registered as refugees. Roughly 75 percent are under the age of 12. Children represent 52 percent of the total Syrian refugee population, which is close to 3 million people.
To help them cope and overcome the trauma they have been through, several NGOS, like Rise, have created psychosocial activities and creative art projects.
The project provides a creative outlet for youth to express themselves and forget for a second that they’re refugees. It gives them a chance to laugh, have fun and be a kid again.
The younger children were gathered to paint the some of the building’s columns. My group of eager artists created a garden of flowers:
After a few hours of painting, the children started a volleyball game with Rise volunteers:
Also Read: Fleeing Syria - The Refugee Children of Shatila, Beirut - by Kulsoom Rizvi
Kulsoom Rizvi is an American/Pakistani freelance journalist. She has a masters in international journalism with a concentration on humanitarian reporting.
Kulsoom has worked with children for almost five years with qualifications in early childhood development and child mental health. I'm currently the associate digital editor for the International Rescue Committee based in NYC.