The United Nations Children’s Fund has called the Syrian crisis as the “most damaging conflict for children in the region’s recent history.”
Meanwhile the UNICEF highlighted what it called “deep developmental and emotional scars” left by the fighting. UNICEF child protection specialists who work with refugees in Jordan, state that many of the Syrian children “are in pure survival mode” and “forgot normal social and emotional responses” to what they have seen.
Many Syrian refugee children are suffering profound emotional and psychological distress from the war. These are “hidden injuries, hidden wounds that have been inflicted on children because of what they have experienced; the behavioral changes, the nightmares that they carry around with them – the way in which they can no longer function as normal children do”. And, this is an aspect of the crisis, which has been too often overlooked, but which is growing all the time. These children are at risk of becoming a “lost generation.”
Without adequate intervention the war could have a lasting impact on these children’s learning abilities, memory, social interactions, stress and fear responses, and the ability to control emotions. The experiences of Syria’s war-affected children could lead to a generation of children experiencing long-term mental health, social and economic problems.
“Postcards to Syria” is a fundraising campaign led by the Michigan chapter of the National Arab American Medical Association (NAAMA – MI) to help those most vulnerable and assist in alleviating some of the trauma that refugee children have gone through. NAAMA – MI is partnering with “Happiness Again” a non governmental not for profit entity working in Jordan that has been helping the Syrian refugees since 2014, especially the distressed and traumatized children, through providing medical aid, psychological and social support.
With proceeds from the campaign “Postcards to Syria”, NAAMA hopes to expand the scope of work “Happiness Again” has been involved in and to establish “The Happiness Again – NAAMA Children Center” in Khalda, Amman for psychological services.
The new “Happiness Again – NAMMA Children Center” will:
1) Treat the children refugee through a 12-week program offers play and sand therapy, art therapy, and music therapy in addition to traditional psychiatric and psychological interventions.
2) Provide psychosocial therapy to about 200 refugee children per year, ages 6-12, who suffer from PTSD related to the war.
3) Help these children overcome their fears, regain their self-esteem and self-confidence, and become positive members to their community.
4) Support the families of the treated children through continuous home visits, consultations with the psychologist, and social development workshops to raise awareness about mental health issues and proper coping strategies.
We count on you and on your generous support to accomplish such a needed project. We hope that you will support NAAMA and Happiness Again in ensuring that these children are not “lost or forgotten”. Please join us and support “Post Cards to Syria”.
Please find attached how you can help. for more information please e mail or call us at:
Mouhanad Hammami, MD
President, NAAMA Michigan
On behalf of the Board of Directors