Daring to Dream in Shatila

– Oct 03, 2017

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Guest Blogger

War Child and the IKEA Foundation have teamed up to respond to the needs of children affected by the crisis in Syria with the Let’s Play for Change campaign. Proceeds from the campaign will support War Child’s ongoing efforts to create safe learning spaces in both Jordan and Lebanon, providing a protective environment where children can learn, play and be kids!

Below, our partners at War Child Holland share the inspiring stories of Sadek and Jamal, two young boys living in the Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon, who after years of violence and trauma, are now daring to dream again.

Sadek and Jamal escaped the violence of Syria’s horrifying civil war to find shelter in Lebanon some four years ago. Yet the two boys struggled with the memories of the disturbing events they witnessed on their journey to safety - and at first found little comfort on their arrival in Lebanon.

After several months living in an abysmal house with no floors - in an area where work was scarce - the boys and their families moved to the Shatila refugee camp. Inside the camp the boys began to take part in activities operated by community organization ‘Ahlam Lajik’ (‘Dreams of a Refugee’) - including the War Child project Time to Be a Child, funded by IKEA Foundation.

The Time to Be a Child project is designed to protect Syrian and other vulnerable children from abuse and provide them with the skills to boost their resilience. War Child supports Ahlam Lajik facilitators inside the Shatila camp to support children with psychosocial support and structured recreational activities.


Sadek and Jamal have become part of a new community through their involvement in Time to Be a Child - a community of children from different backgrounds and nationalities. “We have all become like brothers,” says Sadek. “And the activities that we participate in through Time to Be a Child distract us from the terrors we experienced before evacuating the war in Syria.”

Jamal adds: “Last week we were given papers and asked to draw what we want to be in our futures, when we grow up. We all discussed our dreams and widened our perspectives. We are also informed about our rights, how we ought to behave in public, and how to be good people in general.”

The boys want to set up a community organization of their own when they return to Syria - and be a positive influence on other children and teach them that there is always hope for a brighter future. Sadek reflects: “We always say that maybe the one good thing that came out of this war was that the universe brought all us refugee children together.”

“Our only wish is that the war will end, so that we can go back to Syria and take back all the friends we made here with us.” 

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