Dear America: Messages From Syria's Children

Collection with 20 media items created by Transterra Editor

Syria 03 Sep 2013 06:29

Since 2011, the deadly Syrian conflict has claimed the lives of over 100,000 Syrians, while robbing millions more of their dignity and hope as they flee from their homes. Of the millions displaced, more than half are children under the age of 18. As Obama heads to Congress for permission for military intervention, journalist Anna Therese Day shares her ongoing project, “Dear America: Messages from Syrian Children,” a glimpse into the millions of children’s lives interrupted, the child-victims of the Syrian civil war.

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Dear America 1: Setting the Scene
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

Thousands of Syrians await safety in border camps inside Syria as Syria’s neighbors struggle to absorb nearly 2 million refugees. (http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php)

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Dear America 3: Big Sis
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

“I study English so I can be a translator and come to see the skyscrapers!” says 12-year-old Rajaa from Aleppo. She’s the oldest of 4 children, all currently living in the camp to escape from the violence of Aleppo.

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Dear America 4: Setting the Scene
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

Thousands of Syrians are trapped in internally displaced camps throughout the countryside and along the border. In this camp along the Turkish border, several thousands of Syrians await entry into Turkey as the Turkish government struggles to absorb more than 200,000 refugees. (http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php)

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Dear America 5: Hard Winter
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

The winter hit Syrian refugees harder than ever this year. Heavy rains flooded Syrian IDPs in their own sewage, and the lack of electricity and their tent homes combined to make a harrowing winter. Syrians began cutting down what was once groves of trees from neighboring property in hopes of burning a little wood for heat.

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Dear America 6: Cheese!
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

“Cheese!” they scream in English as the camera clicks. Hassan and his little sister miss their school in Aleppo. Although they go to the makeshift schools in tents with volunteer teachers in the camps, they say it’s not the same. “I’m good at science so my father says I will be a doctor some day. Then I will come help sick people in America,” says Hassan.

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Dear America 7: School Interrupted
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

Lina started school this year but had to leave when the Assad regime started targeting schools in a neighboring town. Her parents were scared her school could be next, and, when shelling started in their town of Tarafat, their family fled to the border where they’ve been awaiting refugee status for four months. Her parents say they try to keep in touch with their friends from Tarafat but everyone is scattered between border camps, refugee camps, and cheap rentals in Turkey.
“I miss my friends, I miss Hima [a friend], I miss my teacher, and I miss my school,” says the six-year-old.

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Dear America 8: Rebel in Training
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

Two of Nasser’s older brothers are fighting with rebel-forces in Aleppo. He brags that they have killed Assad’s snipers but says that he misses playing soccer with them and that his mother cries because she is scared for them. “When will the US help us Free Syria?” he asks.

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Dear America 9: Setting the Scene
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
02 Apr 2013

Thousands of Syrians await safety in border camps inside Syria as Syria’s neighbors struggle to absorb nearly 2 million refugees. Families struggle to grasp onto moments of normalcy, sanity, and dignity through their organizing despite the unspeakable conditions of their makeshift border camps. (http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php)

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Dear America 10: Sewage Canyons
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Apr 2013

The winter of 2012 was rough for the millions of displaced Syrians throughout the region. In this particular camp, thousands of Syrians trapped along the border awaiting refugee status in Turkey were flooded in their own filth by the heavy winter rains. Community organizers dug a ditch that has now become a little canyon to drain the sewage from the camp. The open river of waste weaves through the thousands of tents along the border.

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Dear America 11: We Love You!
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

Amina’s message to America: “WE LOVE YOU!” before she gives an enormous bear hug for a little girl.

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Dear America 12: Man of the House
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Apr 2013

Mohammed, age 13, is now the man of the house. His father and brothers were killed when they were working at their family’s garage. His mother and his other brothers and sisters fled with his uncle’s family to this makeshift border camp when the violence started in Aleppo last summer. To Americans, he says “We welcome you to Free Syria, and we hope our country to be like yours some day.”

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Dear America 13: The Skeptic
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Apr 2013

“If the USA is so strong, why can’t they help us?” asks this 14-year-old Syrian boy. Of the nearly two million Syrian refugees, over half are children.

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Dear America 14: Rivers of Sewage
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Apr 2013
Children wander the “sewage canyon” in a makeshift camp along the border with Turkey. According to the UN, children make up more than half of the Syrian refugees and IDPs. (http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php)
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Dear America 15: Rivers of Sewage
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Apr 2013
Children wander the “sewage canyon” in a makeshift camp along the border with Turkey. According to the UN, children make up more than half of the Syrian refugees and IDPs. (http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php)
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Dear America 16: Exporting Disney
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

Kareen asks if I know Hannah Montana. She even knows a song from the television show that she sings for us. “Will you please tell Hannah Montana to come to see us in Syria?” she squeals. Kareen’s family has been waiting six months to get to safety according to her parents. They’re worried that she will soon hit puberty because some Syrian girls have been kidnapped into sex slavery since the conflict began.

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Dear America 17: Soccer vs. Football
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

These little boys play soccer in these groves when they’re not trying to sell candy bars in the camps. Because of the harsh conditions of the camp, Syrians began cutting the nearby groves for firewood last winter. These boys say they want to come to America some day, and they ask why we call it “soccer” instead of “football” like everyone else in the world.

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Dear America 18: Hard Winter
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

The winter hit Syrian refugees harder than ever this year. Heavy rains flooded Syrian IDPs in their own sewage, and the lack of electricity and their tent homes combined to make a harrowing winter. Syrians began cutting down what was once groves of trees from neighboring property in hopes of burning a little wood for heat.

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Dear America 19: We Love You
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

These little cuties practiced their English that they learned in school. Haitam, the boy furthest to the right, wants to be a dentist so he says he is not eating candy these days. Together, these children sing the ABCs and yell “We love you!” until we’re out of earshot. According to UNICEF, one in every five school has been destroyed, damaged or converted into shelters for Syrians in danger. (http://www.unicefusa.org/assets/pdf/Syria-2-year-report.pdf)

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Dear America 20: U-S-A! U-S-A!
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

A group of young Syrian children begin chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” in a makeshift IDP camp -- a scene they saw in American movies.

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Dear America 21: Setting the Scene
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

A child stands firm in front of his family’s tent, staring across the sewage lake on his back doorstep.