Sharpies and markers make Syrian refugee children happy

Thanks to Newell Brands, Syrian refugee children at Za'atari camp are receiving colourful markers

Monique Awad
Sharpies distribution Zaatari
El Noaimi
07 July 2021

Children are inspired with hope

Za'atari camp, Jordan, 7 June 2021 – A group of children, aged 6-10 are engaged in sketching and colouring their favourite drawings.

“This is my house in Daraa, Syria,” says 10-year old Mohammad pointing at his drawing.  “I like to draw and colour, it makes me happy.”

10-year old Mohammad pointing at his drawing
El Noaimi

Mohammad and his family fled the violence in Syria when he was an infant.  The family is now seeking shelter at Zaatari camp, northern Jordan.  Children like Mohammad do not recall anything about their city or neighbourhood.

“My mom keeps on telling me about our house in Daraa, and this is how it looks like, ” says Mohammad pointing to a brown house that he sketched and coloured.  “I want to fly a kite infront of my house.”

Almost all children residing in Za'atari camp are from Daraa, a Syrian city that is 12 kilometres north of the border with Jordan. 

With thanks to Newell Brands, Syrian refugee children participating at UNICEF-supported Makani centres at Za'atari camp are receiving colourful markers.  These markers are distributed during the non-formal education sessions, where children can sketch and colour freely.

“I am very happy to receive these colourful pens,” says Mohammad.  “It is the first time in my life that I receive such a beautiful gift.”

Drawing inspires children with hope

For 7-year old Ali Naser, having a chance to draw offers him hope.

“This is a rainbow and these are colourful flowers,” says Naser pointing at his drawing.  Born at Za'atari camp, Naser has never stepped foot in his hometown Daraa.  Yet, he hopes that he will return to his hometown soon.

Naser pointing at his drawing
El Noaimi

“I want to become a pilot when I grow up,” says Naser.  “The first country that I will visit will be Syria.”

Abdullah, Naser’s father, continuously tells his children about their life in their Syrian hometown Daraa.  As a child, Naser became more curious to see his hometown and meet his uncles, aunts and cousins.

“My father tells me that Syria has a sea with lots of fish, lots of green trees and colourful flowers,” says Naser.  “I want to visit these places and meet all my relatives.”

Nearly five million children in Syria were born inside Syria since the war began in 2011.  An additional one million children were born as refugees in Syria’s neighbouring countries, including Jordan.  Most of these children know nothing about their homeland, except for the stories they hear or the pictures they see. 

“The colourful markers play a critical role in ensuring these children’s well-being,” says Abeer Abu Nuktah, Facilitator, Makani Centre, Zatari camp.  “Every refugee child can develop her hobby and express himself using these colourful markers.”