Saving Syria’s Lost Generation of Children

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DAMASCUS, Syria- Bold headlines and big numbers often get the attention of the average viewer when watching the news, especially when that news is in regards to death tolls and starving children. 425,000 Syrian children under the age of five are currently refugees seeking solace in places such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq.

Although creating such awareness is positive in terms of causing a chain reaction of events in hopes of finding a solution, what often gets lost in the mix is the actual effect war and conflict has on not just a select amount of people, but of an entire generation. And no generation of children are affected more than those currently suffering in Syria.

Future doctors, leaders, advocates, engineers and writers may not even get to the chance to become what their destined to be due to ongoing war, which is ravaging the nation. Things have gotten so bad that on January 10, the United Nations announced plans for a No Lost Generation Initiative, which aims to save millions of Syrian Children who are slipping through the cracks due to the Syrian civil war.

Launched by the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR,) U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF,) World Vision, Save the Children and other NGO affiliates, the No Lost Generation Initiative is seeking to raise international aid of roughly $1 billion. These funds are being sought in order to protect and nourish a society of children who would otherwise be passed off as necessary casualties.

“The average American can tune out the Syrian war as easily as they can turn off their television. But that is not the case for a whole generation of Syrian children who live it day after day with an uncertain future. It has been more than 1,000 days since this war began, [and]we have no time to lose to invest in their future. The world has a moral obligation to act,” says Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children.

This initiative will primarily be focused in strengthening community-based child protection systems as well as improving the quality and access of educational services through formal and informal approaches. The requested funds will be channeled through U.N. agencies programs and will strive to achieve the following goals:

1. Providing beneficial schooling options which also ensure child safety.

2. Protecting children from abuse, violence and exploitation.

3. Providing psychological support to those most affected.

4. Providing opportunities for social unison on peace building.

This initiative comes at a critical period as tensions and violence continues to escalate.

A website has also been created to go with the No Lost Generation Initiative titled championthechildrenofsyria.org, which allows people from around the world to rise up and help this generation of children of Syria from becoming entirely lost. Although facts and figures create awareness for the horrors Syria experiences on a daily basis, much more is needed to ensure that Syria lives to see a hopeful future.

Jeffrey Scott Haley
Feature Writer

Sources: Jagran Josh, UNHCR, Save the Children, The United Nations
Photo: Mother Jones

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