Finding Hope on a Sad Day...

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Today marks six years since the start of the Syria crisis – six years of a devastating conflict that has changed the lives of millions of Syrian children and their families.  For many Syrians who are living in Egypt, this is a period of transition and adapting to a new place, while still dreaming of returning to Syria.

To commemorate this sad milestone, Save the Children organised a workshop for youth in Greater Cairo, entitled “6 years of story-telling”. Around 40 adolescents and youth participated, where they had the chance to reflect, and write a story focusing on how the conflict and moving to another country had changed them, even in positive ways.

Mariam*, 12 years old

"I remember when the war started, I was at home with my mother, sister and grandmother. All of a sudden we heard the sound of missiles and airstrikes. It was a terrifying experience. While I was in school, a missile fell on a building next to the school. The school Principal closed all of the school gates and said no child could leave the school. I still remember the sound of children screaming and crying loudly. We almost saw death that day. My mum then told us that we would go to Lebanon but she couldn't join us. So I traveled with my aunt, grandmother and sister and from Lebanon we came to Egypt. After a few weeks, my mother joined us and she enrolled me in school. Gradually, our lives started to become more stable and I started making new friends in Egypt. When I return back to Syria, I will rebuild my dear country.”

Faris*, 14 years old

"My cousin died in the war and then my grandmother died. We came to Egypt. At first, I wasn't happy and I wanted to return to Syria. But then I was enrolled in school and started building new friendships with Egyptians and Syrians. Now I have joined Save the Children's Youth Resilience Program where I am learning new things. I have started to become stronger. I more independent now, I can go anywhere alone and I am not afraid anymore.”

Raghda*, 15 years old

"I remember when I first came to Egypt, I was an introvert and never left my twin sister's side. But this changed.  After a while I changed how I look at life. I started making new friends. I have visited new places - I love traveling to Alexandria and visiting the citadel."

“We knew that the workshop wouldn’t be an easy one. Writing a positive story about a hard experience is really difficult and some children couldn’t share their stories with us. But it is important to give them the chance to reflect” said Martha, a psychologist with Save the Children.

During the workshops children reflected on their feelings about the things that happened before coming to Egypt. Martha added, “it is hard to them forget what happened, and this workshop helped them explore this in a safe space and to focus on their strengths and abilities. The process looked at how to adapt and confront their problems, which is such an important part of building a future. It is important to be flexible and strong. I know they are young, but children have the ability to overcome traumas faster than adults, especially if they have some stability in their lives and some support’.