Cairo, 2nd April 2019 – Today, UNICEF hosted an event to highlight the 8th anniversary of the Syrian war and to send a message of hope from children refugees in Egypt. During this event, a song performed by young refugees was screened in the presence of the singers.
“My grandfather has a shop, I will refurbish it with him on my return to Syria” says Haneen, 10 years, from Homs, while she is enjoying her recording of UNICEF supported music video “Yalla Neamer” (Let’s build). This initiative is part of the UNICEF psychosocial support programme provided to children on the move across the Middle East Region.
“Yalla Neamer” Egypt’s edition is performed by children from Syria, Yemen and Egypt and is a reproduction of an old children song, produced in the late 1970’s, by renowned Lebanese composer Elias El-Rahbani. The full album consisting of 11 songs was released by UNICEF MENA Regional Office on March 11th marking 8th year on the war in Syria.
The first screening of “Yalla Neamer”, Egypt’s version, was held today during a reception hosted by UNICEF Representative in Egypt, Mr. Bruno Maes. The reception shed light on the ongoing joint interventions, the support to children on the move and their families in Egypt in accessing education, health services and child protection services. The event was attended by key national partners including: the Ministry of Education and Technical Education, the Ministry of Health and Population, the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, UN agencies, the donor community and the civil society.
“Until this day, Syrian children are enduring violence and hardships that left them with scars. It is our duty as international organizations, policy makers, donors and humans in the first place to provide these children, especially the most vulnerable of them, with a chance to live” said Mr. Bruno Maes. He added that “UNICEF acknowledges the hospitality of the government of Egypt extended to children on the move. Through our work with governmental and non-governmental counterparts, we are able to provide psychosocial support to Syrian children and children on the move in general at Primary Healthcare Units. We are also strengthening the referral mechanisms by supporting our work with child protection committees and child helpline.”
The event also capitalized on art as a coping mechanism to help children overcome the violence they have witnessed. A gallery of paintings done by Syrian children living in Egypt, who benefited from UNICEF supported programs in family clubs at Primary Healthcare Units and in family centers, was on display, projecting their interests and hopes.
From 2013 to December 2018, UNICEF in Egypt has reached out and supported around 80,000 migrants, refugee children, their parents and the host communities. Syrian children and their parents represent more than fifty percent of the number reached, a staggering figure that need the support and the help of national and international community to preserve their fundamental rights to protection, good health and education.
“Oh my friends! Let’s build small houses in our country. Tomorrow we’ll grow up my friends, and the whole world will grow with us!” On the 8th anniversary of the war in Syria, UNICEF Middle East and North Africa re-produced 11 children's songs originally created during the war in Lebanon in 1976 by Elias Rahbani. Watch one of them sung by children from Syria, Yemen and Egypt trained at Omar Bin Al Khattab NGO and filmed by the support of the EU Neighbourhood & Enlargement and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Egypt.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/egypt/