Displaced in Jibreen: Meet the children we’re racing to reach
Since November 2016, nearly 315,000 people have been displaced from fighting in and around Aleppo City in Syria. As temperatures continue to drop and heavy rainfall adds to the challenges of survival, UNICEF is racing to reach the thousands of children at risk. At a camp in Jibreen, on the outskirts of Aleppo, UNICEF is providing blankets and winter clothing, access to safe water, essential medical care, Child Friendly Spaces and psychosocial support to help them recover from the suffering and trauma they’ve experienced.
Meet some of the children who have been uprooted from their homes and whose futures are at risk unless we help them now.
Three-month-old Hala arrived with her mother and older sister in a shelter in Jibreen in December 2016. “Hala was born during the worst times for our family,” said Hala’s mother who was relieved to have fled the fighting in east Aleppo, but remained desperately worried about Hala’s safety. “When we fled our neighborhood I was so concerned about Hala especially after I heard that a baby died because of the cold in the shelter.”
As temperatures continue to drop, families staying in shelters and other areas are facing the bitter cold with little protection. In response, UNICEF has provided all newborn infants and children under the age of one in the shelters in Jibreen with warm clothing kits. The kit includes baby blankets, gloves, warm hats, socks, a coat, a carrying bag and hygiene supplies such as a towel, powder, shampoo, diapers and bars of soap for babies.
“I love school because I have so much fun,” said seven-year-old Hasan, who had never seen the inside of a classroom before fleeing east Aleppo with his family almost two months ago.
“For the first couple of weeks in school Hasan didn’t speak to other children,” said his teacher. “Slowly Hasan started interacting with other students and his teachers. Hasan gained confidence and is now one of the brightest children in his class.”
Hasan attends classes in a UNICEF-supported school in Jibreen, which supports more than 600 internally displaced children.
Mohammad was forced to leave school for several months as violent fighting broke out in his neighborhood of east Aleppo. Once he and his family arrived in Jibreen, Mohammad started attending Grade Five in one of 17 classrooms rehabilitated by UNICEF and its education partners. The makeshift school supports 600 displaced children, bringing some critical structure, fun and routine into their lives. UNICEF also provided the children with new school bags and stationery.
“I learned calculus while helping my father run his shop,” said Mohammad. “I want to improve my math skills; I want to be a successful businessman when I grow up.”
A child holds a box of high-energy biscuits that are being distributed by UNICEF to children in a large warehouse in Jibreen, which is now used as a shelter for thousands of families who fled violence in east Aleppo. UNICEF is screening children for malnutrition in Jibreen and providing nutritional supplements for children who have survived for weeks and months with just the bare minimum of food.
A girl holds the new blankets and winter clothing she was given to help protect her from the now freezing temperatures at the Jibreen shelter. This winter, UNICEF is working to provide 2.5 million vulnerable children throughout Syria and neighbouring countries with warm clothing and supplies, including winter clothing kits and thermal blankets for 740,000 children across Syria.
To help UNICEF continue providing life-saving support to the children affected by the Syrian crisis, click here.