‘Many children can’t even remember a life before this’
Yesterday I met a young boy during our food distribution at one of the refugee settlements.
He was playing alone, using a stick to draw in the dirt – waiting for his phone to charge on the generator charging board we put up during the distribution. I decided to join him in an attempt to fill a part of his day with some fun, creativity and imagination.
The boy created an image of a child, playing with a football, holding an umbrella under the sunshine and a rainbow. We spent time gathering plywood, sticks and stones as materials for the picture.
Once he was happy with his artwork, he gave his character a name. He said this was his 10-year-old friend who he used to play with when he was at home in Iraq. The friend’s name was the same as his.
This really moved me. No child should have to surrender their childhood in return for the search for a safe place to call home. Many children and families I have met can’t remember a life before being on the road, before fleeing war torn countries, walking thousands of miles into so much uncertainty. Their playgrounds are camps and derelict warehouses.
If they are able to make friends along the way, they will often leave suddenly without a goodbye, or be forcefully evicted by the authorities.
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