UNICEF-supported volunteers protect children in remote villages from explosive hazards

“Most children work after school to support their families, which puts them at a huge risk of being killed or maimed,”

Basma Ourfali
Boy reading information about mine risk awareness
UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Khudr Al-Issa

26 May 2019

Driving through wide stretches of land, a red bus decorated with colorful balloons and posters with life-saving information made its way to Hober village in southern rural Aleppo, carrying eleven young volunteers.

As violence subsided, families started returning to the war-ravaged village despite a severe lack of services and the risks of explosive hazards. Earlier this year, a child lost his leg when he stepped on a landmine while tending cattle - one of the main sources of income for families in the area, along with agriculture.

“Most children work after school to support their families, which puts them at a huge risk of being killed or maimed,”

Mona, the principal of the village school
volunteers engage children in recreational activities
UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Khudr Al-Issa
UNICEF-supported volunteers engage children in recreational activities to teach them about the risk of explosive hazards and how to protect themselves, in Hober village, southern rural Aleppo.
volunteers engage children in recreational activities
UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Khudr Al-Issa
UNICEF-supported volunteers engage children in recreational activities to teach them about the risk of explosive hazards and how to protect themselves, in Hober village, southern rural Aleppo.

To ensure the safety of children and their families, the UNICEF-supported volunteers went door-to-door to raise families’ awareness and hold recreational activities for children in schools on how to identify and protect themselves against explosive hazards.

“I’m happy with the work we’re doing, knowing that our messages will help save lives. I see the impact of our work when children walk up to me and tell me of instances when they avoided strange objects thanks to the sessions,”

Abdullah, 24, one of the volunteers.

Thanks to generous contributions from the Office of U.S Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Syrian Humanitarian Fund (SHF) and Luxembourg, UNICEF has reached around 50,000 people since the beginning of the year in Aleppo governorate with lifesaving information on the diverse types of explosive hazards, warning signs, dangerous areas, safe behaviors and reporting lines. UNICEF also coordinates with relevant departments on the locations of identified explosive hazard to ensure their removal.

volunteer talks to children about the risk of explosive hazards
UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Khudr Al-Issa
A UNICEF-supported volunteer talks to children about the risk of explosive hazards and how to protect themselves, in Hober village, southern rural Aleppo.