Syria: Reaching Out to Children and Parents of War Exhibition 4/5/6 June 2015.
Met the very inspiring women, Aalaa and Kim, who organised the exhibition which consists of groundbreaking parent/childcare research, interviews and testimonials, short film, children’s activities, music by Chris Davies, art work by Syrian refugee children and an insight to syrian food and culture.
This truly was a moving portmanteau of life under conflict and would be beneficial in raising awareness in other areas regionally regarding the Syrian plight. Please inbox me if you can provide space where this could be set up again, ideally in areas where the Syrian crisis is underrepresented. Some of the information from the short film, listed below, really struck a chord as I listened to accounts by parents of the post traumatic stress they have to deal with.
‘My children would be sleeping and scared at the same time. They would run up and ask me to charge them. And I too would need them to charge me’
‘I’d cover their ears from the shelling.’
‘They would need to blindly trust me. So we invented ‘red code’ so when I mentioned the colour they would know to do as I said, no questions asked’
‘The war taught children to be aggressive with each other. We didn’t know what they wanted.’
‘The children learnt to differentiate war planes from cluster bombs and barrel bombs from tanks.’
‘If we became pregnant we would have fear concerning the birth. How would we get to hospitals through blockades that would last days.’
‘We all had ID cards but the younger kids have nothing to mark their identities, character and dreams. I want them to know they are part of a family and not alone- that they have roots to build a future.’
‘We used wireless devices originally used by the army called ‘qabda’. All homes had one to relay specific news. We would hear of planes heading towards a place, towards Saraqib, so we would get ready in robes and gloves. Children would dress and unlock doors so we could make a quick escape.’
‘When we reunited as families and were resettled in Britain, we found it difficult to explain new culture to our children. They would question why there were so many dogs around and thought the churches were big mosques.’
‘As asylum seekers you expect relief and rest but its like crossing a sea and there is a high mountain in front of you.’
‘Our kids are very afraid of aeroplanes and uniformed soldiers or police. We have left the war but the war has not left us. We explained to our children that the police here protect and serve in the UK.’
‘Our kids don’t have a sense of stability because we were always on the move all the time. Toys and friends etc were always changing during the conflict. children.’
‘The children cry easily. I pray inshAllah we will get them to forget and remove the terror from within them. Islam teaches integration and citizenship. To an extent we feel we belong to this country now.’
‘It’s difficult for a mother to parent a child alone and in war family is the most important. I want my children to learn and deal with loss, to be able to carry on with energy and strength. I want to be the safe shore, no matter how far they go out to sea.’
‘We had to protect and provide for our children so could not parent or raise them how we would like.’
‘We want them to forget the war but not their background, tradition, roots or culture.’