Children Who Spent Their Childhood As Refugees; Their Stories, Fears, Hopes, And Dreams

Heartbroken look in the eyes of little refugee girl

We’ve left 11 years behind since the Syrian civil has started. What was the loss of these 11 years? According to The United Nations Human Rights, at least 350,209 people have been killed since March 2011. Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that 26,727 victims were women and 27,126 were children. Over 13.5 million Syrians, more than half of the country’s population, have been forcibly displaced. Of these, 6.8 million are refugees and asylum seekers who had to leave their country.
There are more than 4 million refugees in Turkey, almost half of them are children.
Now let’s remember the children of war and hear their stories, fears, hopes, and dreams first hand.


"I'm not afraid of fighter planes; I'm afraid of wild animals."

I’m nine years old and from Latakia. I’m in second grade. My favorite lesson is spelling. I want to be a doctor when I grow up. When I wake up in the morning, First thing, I wash my hands and face, then comb my hair. I love soccer, and I support Barcelona.
I stopped going to school in Syria because of the regime and fighter jets. They bombed our school. After the bombardment, the villagers fled. I injured my face from shrapnel fragments in another attack a month ago. Someone from our village took me to the hospital. I still have the shrapnel on my back. I was never afraid at all. I didn’t feel anything. You feel nothing when the shrapnels injure you. I didn’t feel either. I’m not scared of fighter jets at all, but I am afraid of bears, dogs, wild animals.
Syria is more beautiful than here. I miss our home the most and everything about my homeland.
I want to save people from cruelty. I want to become a doctor and save people’s lives affected by the war. My third wish is to help thieves, so they don’t have to steal anything from anyone.
I have a very dear friend, but I don’t remember his name. Because of the scar on my face, some of my friends are scared of me; they don’t allow me to play with them.


"I'm happy because we don't have fighter jets flying over us here."

Mohammed is only 6 years old. They came to Turkey from a village in Aleppo. He lives with his mother and four siblings in a rented room in Antakya. His father suffered a head injury with a piece of shrapnel and partially lost his memory. That’s why he stayed in Syria.
Mohammed never went to school, neither in Syria nor in Turkey. According to his mother, he is the most affected by the war among her children. He generally prefers to remain silent, and remarkably, he constantly rubs his hands tightly. His biggest fear is fighter jets. “I am happy because there are no airplanes here. I sleep well at night now. I miss my father the most in Syria. I want to be a doctor in the future.

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"I miss our home and my clothes the most. And my friends…."

Büşra is also from Aleppo, and she is 9 years old. After a challenging journey and 4 days of waiting at the border. Finally, they came to Turkey. She lives in a single room in Antakya with his mother, father, seven siblings and his uncle’s family. She is the eldest of the children in the family. She, just like the others, never went to school. “I usually go to the park with my brothers. We are playing games together. I want to be a nurse when I grow up. I miss our home, my belongings and my clothes the most. And my friends. My biggest fear is fighter jets.”


"My biggest fear was the missiles."

Mecit is the brother of Büşra, and he is 7 years old. He never had a chance to go to school. “My biggest fear was missiles. They were making a lot of noise. This place is beautiful and quiet. We play games with my brothers and friends all the time.”


"I wish children were not affected by the war."

I am from Aleppo, and I am 7 years old. I’m in the second grade of primary school. My favorite subject is math. I want to be a teacher when I grow up. Our house in Syria was beautiful. I miss our stuff and my bed. I had a lot of toys, I miss them too. I was most afraid of missiles and barrel bombs. I’m comfortable here and not scared of anything. I want everything to go well and the houses not to be demolished. I want children not to be affected by the war.


The boy who reads Khalil Gibran's poems at the refugee camp.

We went elsewhere to escape the bombardment in our village. When there was a conflict there, we set off again. We drove 3 hours from the bombarded town to a place close to the border. Then, we crossed the border at night by walking for 3 hours again. There were many checkpoints along the way, and I saw gunmen; I was scared. After 3 hours, we came to a Turkish village that I do not know its name. Turkish soldiers greeted us at the border. Then they took us to the refugee camp in Şanlıurfa. We stayed there for 15 days. Then we came here from Urfa to Altınözü.
I miss my friends and our home so much. Unfortunately, It was destroyed. I miss my home and my village so much.
If I were the president, I would first ensure the safety of my people. I would help children affected by the war. Children are hungry on the Syrian side of the border. I would like to help them. My wish for myself is to become a doctor in the future. I would also like to go to Istanbul.
My school and friends are lovely. I’m in the 8th class, and I study Turkish and Arabic. My favorite subjects are Math and Turkish, and I love Khalil Gibran. I read his poems all the time.

Source: Unicef Turkey

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