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Hassan and his cousin Wessam

Hassan has spent his life in refugee camps

The nine-year-old (above left) hasn't seen his mum for four years, after his family were separated by war.

Hassan's home was in a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. But when he was just three years old, the family fled the war-torn country after his brother Abdullah was struck by shrapnel during a bombing.

Hassan’s mum went to Europe to find medical treatment for her son and has been unable to return. Hassan now lives with his father, grandad and uncle in Lebanon's Nahr al-Bared camp for Palestinian refugees.

‘Hassan was affected a lot when we first came to Lebanon,’ says Hassan’s grandfather, Noor-Al Deen Hamoudeh. ‘When his mother left, he cried a lot.'

Hassan now comes to Association Najdeh’s children’s centre, where he’s slowly recovering from his experiences.

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Hassan finds hope

Association Najdeh’s children’s centre gives Hassan a safe space to heal, play and learn. He is one of the children treated by psychologist Diana Abbas

'When Hassan first came here he was miserable, and had a lot of fear and anxiety,’ says centre coordinator Hanaa Khail. ‘He refused everyone. He didn’t have friends. He was like a volcano. He didn’t want anyone to get close to him.'

Hassan's story - Hassan and his granddad outside the children's centre

Hassan and his granddad outside the children's centre, where he's found some security.

Photo: Christian Aid

Now it’s a different story, she says. Thanks to the children’s centre, Hassan has been able to recover some of the hope, peace and stability he has lost. 

‘When Hassan came here to the centre, he became better. He found safety, he found friends to play with and he became happy,’ says his granddad. 

Hassan agrees. ‘When I come here it makes me happy. If I’m afraid and I come here, I lose my fears because I have fun and noone hits me.’

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When I come here it makes me happy. If I’m afraid and I come here, I lose my fears

Hassan