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Healing Spaces

These photos of children in Syria enjoying a magical party will warm your heart

Many children in Syria have only known a life of war and conflict. Eight years of fighting has put children’s lives on hold and plummeted their futures into uncertainty. But no matter where they are – children deserve the right to play, to feel safe and to have fun. At our EU-funded Safe Healing and Learning Space in Idlib, Syria, we organised a fun and games day to give children the chance to be children again.

  • Mariam throws her hands up in the air as she joins in the singing and dancing at centre in Idlib. She goes to the centre with her sister. “They are happy there,” their father says. “And that is the main benefit.”

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  • Party hats on and smiles galore! Our EU-funded Safe Healing and Learning Spaces provide children with much-needed respite from the daily challenges their families face in Syria.

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  • Nine-year-old Abeer had to flee her home in Aleppo with her family. She comes to the centre a few times a week where she can take part in activities.

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  • The centre offers children the chance to be creative, learn and develop. Drawing also enables children to understand their emotions – many children in Syria struggle with toxic stress due to the trauma they’ve experienced from the war.

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  • Abeer and Mariam’s father loves that his daughters to be around other children at the centre. “Because of the conflict my daughters grew up not being allowed to go out,” explained the girls’ father. “I wanted them to interact more with kids their age so that they could overcome their shyness.”

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  • The children’s artwork is proudly displayed on the walls. Children and their parents both receive emotional support from IRC staff at the centre, which is funded by the EU.

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  • The centre provides children a space where friendship can blossom. In Idlib, many children are deprived from schools and living in poor conditions: having time to be around children their age is crucial to their development.

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  • Children party under balloons in the centre! The supportive environment aims to tackle toxic stress, which occurs when a child experiences strong and prolonged adversity due to the war.

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  • Research shows that regular access to safe spaces where children can learn, combined with a supportive home environment can have a profound and lasting impact on children’s learning and well-being.

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  • Funding from EU Humanitarian Aid helps us to provide these vital spaces for children in Syria – giving them a sense of normalcy in the chaos of war.

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