The Syrian Crisis: The Harmful Effects on Children’s Well-being
By admin July 2, 2015



In what United Nations aid agencies are calling one of the worst refugee crises since World War II, the crisis in Syria is leaving detrimental effects on every member of the population. In the, now, four-year long crisis, over 220,000 people have been killed and over half of the population has been displaced. Many people have fled to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey where most of now living in refugee camps with little access to income generating activities, education and safe health, water and sanitation facilities. Many families are doing all that they can to survive, including sending their children as young as six years old to work.

Child labor throughout Syria has increased drastically since the beginning of the crisis in 2011. A recent report published by UNICEF and Save the Children, “Small Hands Heavy Burden: How the Syria Conflict is Driving More Children into the Workforce,” states that today three-fourths of households in Syria have children in the labor force and in Jordan at least half of the Syrian households are at least partly supported by a child. The report states that most of the Syrian children in Jordan are making between USD $4 and $7 a day and work six to seven days a week.

The report states that thousands of Syrian children have been pushed into the labor force and are now “harvesting potatoes in Lebanon, working in shops and restaurants in Jordan, bake bread and fix shoes in Turkey and are exposed to multiple hazards in quarries and construction sites in the region.” Employers are choosing to hire children over adults because the labor is cheaper and do not need a work permit in other countries.

UNICEF and Save the Children warn that this problem will only get worse if international action is not taken. Child labor will have long lasting consequences on the Syrian population as a whole. While many children are working in the domestic labor market, thousands others have been recruited into armed forces, prostitution, organized begging and child trafficking and will require a number of resources to reunite with their families in a healthy environment. Along with this, almost all of the children in the labor force are unable to go to school due to their work schedule and are being exposed to hazardous conditions that can affect their health for years.

With over half of the population not gaining access to education and their right to play and be children, there is an increasing worry that the young Syrian population will be a lost generation. Once the conflict ends, Syria will need to rebuild and rely on this younger generation to help redevelop the country. If the population is not educated and has not been provided with the resources necessary for healthy personal and cognitive development this task may be more difficult for Syria.

According to the press release about the UNICEF and Save the Children Report, “UNICEF and Save the Children call on partners and champions of the No Lost Generation Initiative, the wider international community, host governments, and civil society to undertake a series of measures to address child labor inside Syria and in countries affected by the humanitarian crisis.

  • Improve access to livelihoods including through making more funding available for income-generating activities;
  • Provide quality and safe education for all children impacted by the crisis;
  • Prioritise ending the worst forms of child labour; and,
  • Invest in strengthening national and community based child protection systems and services.”

Now it is up to the international community to step in and attempt to curtail any further effects this crisis will have on the population as a whole, but children more specifically, in order to end the threat of producing a lost generation and other detrimental consequences within Syria well past the end of the crisis.

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Thanks for sharing !

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