World Vision Canada CEO releases new report during visit to Lebanon
BEIRUT, Dec. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - Stories of fear and uncertainty among Syrian refugee children in Lebanon are the focus of a new report "Running from War," which is being released today in Beirut by World Vision Canada president and CEO Dave Toycen.
The report is based on interviews with children in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley over the past several months. The children speak movingly about what has happened to them:
- "I saw my cousin dying in front of me, so I always see this scene in front of my eyes" - Layla, aged 8
- "I just want clothes. All mine were burned. I just have the ones I have on." - Hala, aged 12
- "I want to go back to Syria to wear my new dress and play with my toy, even for one day. I can die the next day" - Rama, aged 7
"I've heard similar heartbreaking stories during my visits with Syrian refugee families over the past week," Toycen says. "Many children are living in very difficult circumstances and, as the report notes, there are no formal refugee camps in Lebanon and families from Syria stay with friends and relatives or live in abandoned buildings."
With winter approaching, World Vision is aiming to reach more than 40,000 people in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. The agency has also reopened its child-friendly spaces, which provide children with a safe place to play, interact with other children, and begin the healing process. The report says many Syrian refugee children are essentially being denied an education in Lebanon, either because they cannot afford the fees or they are unable to cope with the language barrier between themselves and other children. Some children are facing their second year out of school, while others have been forced to work to help support their families.
World Vision remains deeply concerned about the future for the approximately 75,000 Syrian refugee children currently in Lebanon. Thousands more are expected to join them by the start of 2013 and, with the future of Syria still uncertain, the agency is calling on government and humanitarian organizations around the world to step up their efforts to help those in need.
"Canadians have a chance to bring hope and emergency care to children during a difficult and dangerous time for the entire region," Toycen says. "We need Canadians to give as generously as they can to support critical relief efforts that will reach thousands of families."
To learn more about World Vision's work with Syrian refugees in Lebanon, please visit www.worldvision.ca or call 1-800-268-5528.
Media note: Dave Toycen is available for media interviews from Lebanon, via telephone or Skype
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 worldvision.ca
SOURCE: World Vision Canada
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