Syrian Refugee Children Share Experiences through Pictures and Words | The Center for Victims of Torture

Syrian Refugee Children Share Experiences through Pictures and Words

Monday, November 3, 2014

Marie Soueid is a Legal Fellow in CVT’s Washington, DC office. She graduated from the American University Washington College of Law and was a recipient of its 2014 Human Rights Brief Award.

It is not often that children fleeing the horrors of war are given a creative outlet that allows them to leave the trauma of war and life as a refugee behind, even if momentarily. But one look at the murals painted by children participating in the Restore Happy campaign proves why it is so essential.Restore Happy2

The Shakespeare Tent of the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan provides one such outlet whereby children fleeing the Syrian war spend time rehearsing Arabic versions of some of the world’s best known tragedies. Recently, over 1,000 of the participating children were asked to paint images of what “peace and hope” meant to them.

At the Center for Victims of Torture’s healing centers in Amman and Zarqa, we recognize the need to provide safe spaces for children not only to cope with the trauma of war, but also to go about “normal” child activities.  CVT, along with many civil society and international organizations, provided community sponsorship for the Restore Happy initiative. Among the members of the host committee for this project was Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. The mural reminds its viewers how important emotional healing may be, particularly at a formative age. Restore Happy3

Too many children fleeing the war in Syria can only conjure up images of war. Providing space for them to deal with the trauma of war and loss can be lifesaving.

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