As temperatures drop, the children of Syria need your support

Now more than ever

Yasmine Saker
two kids getting warm near an outdoor fire heater
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Aldroubi
31 December 2020

It has been almost ten years since the start of the conflict in Syria, and throughout this time children have had to bear the brunt of a war not of their choosing.

The millions of children born in Syria since 2011 have known nothing but war, loss and displacement. Many of them are growing up as refugees away from their homes. To them, a life without violence and fear is one they only hear about in bedtime stories, just like fairytales in a place far far away. Millions of adolescents, once full of life, potential and dreams are now adults struggling to keep afloat in a worsening economic situation, with over 80 per cent of people in my country living below the poverty line.

At this time of year, it is winter that is on every parent’s mind. Children living in tented camps and informal settlements are especially vulnerable, having fled their homes with only the clothes on their backs and living in constant fear of waking up to a flooded tent due to heavy rain. Instead of playing, studying or resting, they spend their days collecting garbage, debris and dry branches to burn for some warmth. Even those who have returned to the destroyed shells of what they used to call home do not have windows or doors to fend off the cold.

a boy with a jacket hood over his head
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Watad

2020 has been a difficult year for people across the world, but it has been especially challenging for children in Syria, where some had just started to see a glimpse of normality return to their lives. The needs of already vulnerable families have been compounded by COVID-19 restrictions and a worsening economic situation, leaving parents unable to provide their children’s most basic needs, including winter clothes.

As a mother, I know that what drives any parent is the wish to keep their children safe, healthy and happy. As a UNICEF humanitarian, I also know that when circumstances become overwhelmingly hard for parents to provide for their children, UNICEF steps up to give a helping hand to vulnerable families. 

Every year, UNICEF distributes much-needed winter clothing kits to children up to 14 years old, including boots, thermal outfits, winter jackets, and woollen hats, gloves and scarves. This year, UNICEF urgently requires US$ 22.44 million to reach 435,000 children, including vulnerable newborn babies across Syria. Of the total requirement, UNICEF has a funding gap of $20 million. Without immediate additional support, thousands of children will be at increased risk as temperatures drop.

It is for these children we reach out to you today. With your help, UNICEF can support Syria’s children not only survive but also thrive and reach their full potential in life.