World Vision urges Canadians to step up for Syria's children

Aid agency launches urgent 24 hour appeal: "One Day for Syria"

MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 26, 2013 /CNW/ - World Vision Canada is today launching an urgent 24-hour appeal (#OneDayForSyria) urging Canadians to help Syria's refugee children who are bearing the brunt of the conflict. The number of refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries is expected to reach two million in the coming weeks and approximately half of them are children.

As the situation intensifies, the aid agency is ramping up its response in Lebanon and Jordan where it is working in camps and communities to provide basic necessities such clean water, toilets, food and blankets. The humanitarian agency is also setting up additional "Child-Friendly Spaces" which are safe havens for children to play and get support to deal with their grief and loss.

Speaking from a replica "Child-friendly space" event in Toronto this morning, Dave Toycen, World Vision Canada president, said:

"Last week I met children who are so traumatized they can barely speak. They've watched people they love being maimed or killed. They have been forced to leave their homes, their schools, their friends and, in some cases, even other family members in a desperate scramble to escape with their lives."

"Refugees are too often seen as the unfortunate but inevitable collateral damage of war. They're too quickly accepted as the price of politics and power. This is a cynical tendency that Canadians must fight."

"A humanitarian response of this scale will be costly. It's encouraging that the Canadian government has pledged to support the challenges that lie ahead. But pledges must quickly translate into actual funds. I'm hopeful that individual Canadians will also show their compassion and not look the other way. The futures of too many children are at stake."

Click here for photos taken today of a Child-Friendly Space in downtown Toronto.
Click here to watch a video of Syrian refugees in a Child-Friendly Space in Lebanon.
Click here for a World Vision report, Robbed of Childhood, Running from War.

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at

SOURCE: World Vision Canada

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Britt Hamilton

Tiffany Baggetta


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