UNICEF supports children’s wellbeing in Al-Hol through child-friendly spaces

Reaching around 500 children daily, through five functioning child-friendly spaces with psychosocial support and recreational activities, including sports and participatory games to help them cope with the challenging situation.

UNICEF
group of children in a tent
UNICEF/ Syria2019/ Souleiman
01 August 2019

The Al-Hol camp in northeast Syria is currently home to over 70,000 people - most of them are women and children who fled escalating violence in Hajin, eastern Deir-ez-Zor. Children make up more than half of the camp’s total population and are by far the most vulnerable. The harsh living situation and sudden arrival of more than 64,000 people in the camp since late 2018, have exacerbated the already pressing emotional and psychological needs of children in Al-Hol.

To support the immense needs, UNICEF is reaching hundreds of children daily with protection and wellbeing services through child-friendly spaces, case management and referral services as well as awareness raising sessions for children and caregivers provided by UNICEF-supported volunteers.

child playing a tent
UNICEF/ Syria2019/ Souleiman
“Singing and playing are my two favorite activities at the child-friendly space,” says Karrad, 7, who goes to UNICEF’s child-friendly spaces and also benefits from UNICEF-supported self-learning classes in Al-Hol camp, northeast Syria. More than five months ago, Karrad’s family had to flee escalating violence in their hometown of Baghouz, southeast rural Deir-ez-Zor, and sought shelter in Al-Hol camp.
children playing in a tent
UNICEF/ Syria2019/ Souleiman
Khatab, 8, attends UNICEF-supported self-learning in the morning and goes to UNICEF’s child-friendly spaces in the afternoon, where he engages with peers through recreational activities, psychosocial support and sessions provided by UNICEF-supported volunteers on basic social skills.
girl playing in a tent
UNICEF/ Syria2019/ Souleiman
Hawraa, 8, who benefits from UNICEF’s child-friendly spaces while sheltering from the scorching sun of summer at this desert camp. She also attends grade 1 classes at one of UNICEF-supported self-learning centres in Al-Hol camp of northeast Syria, where she has sought shelter together with her family, after fleeing escalating violence back home in Iraq.

“I like the volunteers at the centre. I also love coming here, playing with other children and drinking refreshing cold water,”

Hawraa, 8,
boy playing in a tent
UNICEF/ Syria2019/ Souleiman
“We slept out in the open for seven days,” recalls Qassim, 13, from his arduous journey with seven other family members who fled their hometown of Anbar in neighboring Iraq after the passing away of his father in an explosion. They sought shelter in Al-Hol camp, northeast Syria nine months ago. Before they were given a place to stay inside the camp, the most difficult part of Qassim’s displacement was having to stay in the reception area of the camp for an entire month. “It was the most difficult time for us. We all got ill,” he says.

“I dream of going back home and living in peace,”

Qassim, 13,
children playing with a teacher in a tent
UNICEF/ Syria2019/ Souleiman
A UNICEF-supported volunteer guiding the children through a recreational activity at a UNICEF child-friendly space in Al-Hol camp, northeast Syria.

“I can’t read or write. I wish I can go back to school and go back home.”

boy and a teacher in a tent
UNICEF/ Syria2019/ Souleiman
Assad, 13, and his family, arrived in Al-Hol camp of northeast Syria more than two years ago Where he attends UNICEF’s child-friendly spaces to engage with his peers in recreational activities such as sports, helping him overcome his traumatic experience.

With thanks to generous funding from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Syria Humanitarian Fund (SHF), UNICEF is reaching around 500 children daily, through five functioning child-friendly spaces with psychosocial support and recreational activities, including sports and participatory games to help them cope with the challenging situation.