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Guns`N Kids
Cebu City
By Ralf Falbe
12 Feb 2016

Young girl plays with a plastic toy gun in a village near Cebu City, Philippines.

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In exile: Iraqi women seek refuge
Bardarash, Dohuk, Rovia, Diyarbakir
By Arianna Pagani
24 Sep 2014

During the days of terror on Mount Sinjar, about 200 women were kidnapped by the militias of the Islamic State to be converted to Islam and sold in the occupied cities of Mosul and Tal Afar. This barbarism is not new to the chronicles of war.

The Islamic State's attack on Mount Sinjar led to the exodus of about 500,000 people, mostly from the Christian, Yazidi and Shabak minorities. These refugees, currently under the protection of the Kurdish militias, are living in the streets, under bridges or in abandoned places in Erbil and surrounding villages. Many of those who manage to escape the conflict have suffered losses in their family that effect them not only economically, but mentally and emotionally. Depression and anxiety in addition to insecurity are a constant challenge.

The UNHCR anticipated there to be over 900,000 internally displaced people in Iraq by the end of 2014. With the rise of ISIS, that number has been more than tripled, with 2.9 million displaced according to International Displacement Monitoring Center. The situation of internally displaced women, not only in Iraq but in conflict zones around the world, is especially precarious as the breakdown in social structures is a risk factor for gender-based violence. In their planning document for 2014, the UNHCR says it is ramping up its efforts to protect refugee and internally displaced women. However, agencies like the UNHCR as well as local associations can only care for and provide aid to so many displaced people, leaving others to fend for themselves.

The condition of the women and children displaced in Iraq is tragic: not only from a material point of view, but also from a psychological and ethical perspective. While talking with them, the elderly were crying because they don't see a future for their land, culture or traditions and were continuously asking, "What did we do wrong to deserve to be killed?" The women were mostly passive, trapped between emotions, tears, the inability to react, “deafened by pain and suffering.” They seemed to understand that as time passes by, the hope of returning to a normal and fair life fades away.

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Gaza's Orphans Begin New Lives
Gaza
By Andrea DiCenzo
25 Aug 2014

August 28, 2014
Gaza, Palestine

Palestinian children orphaned in the 2014 Gaza war begin new lives in the care of extended family and orphanages. While the physical wounds many of them sustained during the 50 day war are healing, their psychological wounds are just beginning to show. Gaza's dismal, blockaded, and underfunded mental health system cannot cope with massive amount of children in need of psychosocial care. Most children will receive no specialized treatment for their deep psychological wounds.

Many children orphaned in the war are now beginning new lives in the care of extended family members. However, as Islam forbids adoption, those who do not have extended family to go to are now under the care of orphanages and will remain so until they are adults.

These photos profile three young girls who lost their parents in the 2014 Gaza conflict and are now looking for a new start as their caretakers help rebuild their shattered lives.

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Military plane crash in Sana'a, Yemen...
Sana'a, Yemen
By luke_somers
20 Feb 2013

A citizen uses his tablet to record clean-up efforts hours after the military plane crash.

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Albashayer School For Syrian Refugees
Antakya, Turkey
By U.S. Editor
23 Jan 2013

School for Refugees

The majority of the more than 150,000 Syrians who have fled to Turkey are children. Although many are sheltering in Turkey's state run refugee camps, a countless number are living under the radar, in the border cities like Antakya. For those Syrian children, many of whom have been traumatized by their experiences of the war, Turkey does not and cannot provide public education.

“Some children have been out of school for almost one or two years," according to Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s head of emergency operations.

The privately-funded Albashayer School in Antakya was founded 18 month ago to address the needs of Antakya's Syrian children.

In the beginning, the school provided education in Arabic for just 16 Syrian children. In three months, the number had quadrupled, according to the school principal, Sally Albunni, herself a refugee from Hama. Now over 500 students flood through the front gates every morning, and numbers are increasing.
"Every day we have new students," says Albunni. The school just opened a new branch, so now it occupies two full apartment buildings. Total number of students served is currently over 800. Students arrive in two shifts, in order to accommodate as many as possible. Others are on a waiting list. In addition to learning math, science, arabic, Turkish and art, a school psychologist helps them work through difficult emotions. Needy children receive new clothes that have been donated.

According to UNICEF, half of the 4 million affected Syrians are children living in the worst conditions and suffering from the psycho-social effects of the violence they witness on a daily basis.

At the Albashayer School, signs of trauma are everywhere, from the playground, where children participate in violent play, to the art room, where student's drawings depict tanks, blood, soldiers and guns.

But after a few weeks, Albunni says she sees improvement. The children are very resilient, and happy to be in school.

"We want to remove everything about the war," says the principal.

"We want to see them happy and playing normally."

-Jodi Hilton

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School for Syrian Refugees in Turkey ...
Antakya, turkey
By Jodi Hilton
14 Dec 2012

Some Syrian children play at wrestling and fighting during recess while others play games, eat snacks and socialize at Albashayer School for Syrian Refugee Children. Violent play is common with traumatized children, especially those who have experienced violence.

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School for Syrian Refugees in Turkey ...
Antakya, Turkey
By Jodi Hilton
14 Dec 2012

Some Syrian children play at wrestling and fighting during recess while others play games, eat snacks and socialize at Albashayer School for Syrian Refugee Children. Violent play is common with traumatized children, especially those who have experienced violence.