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Published on 13 July 2021

After more than ten years of conflict in northwest Syria many families have fled violence multiple times.

Fatima tells us that because of the security situation in her village, her small family have been displaced four times since 2012.

Protecting her two young boys from bombing and military operations meant she was forced to stop her studies for seven years. Thankfully she has now returned to her village safely, with her husband and her sons, and has managed to start her university studies again.

Gaining new skills

Alongside her studies, Fatima is also taking courses at her local Darna centre. Through our local partner, with EU funding, we are working to reach more than 12,000 young people to support them to gain an education, receive access to vocational training, and psychosocial support. Opting for a range of courses including parenting skills, English language and project management, Fatima is already seeing a difference.   

The training opened new doors for me, I was able to write a CV and volunteer in a local charity (supporting children). The Darna Center is different from other centers in terms of offering good options, attention, and follow-up.

- Fatima.

Children and displacement

In northwest Syria, millions of children remain displaced. More than 800,000 people were displaced in just the last major escalation in northwest Syria between December 2019 and February 2020, and 60 percent were estimated to be children.* The reported numbers of children displaying symptoms of psychosocial distress doubled in 2020, due to continued exposure to violence, shock and trauma. **

Using the new skills she gained at the Darna centre, Fatima volunteers as a protection worker at a local charity providing psychosocial support to children. She sees these challenges at work, spending time listening to the children to gain their trust.  

It is our responsibility to build the future of Syria and build an entire generation

- Fatima .

Fatima’s confidence and experience continues to grow. She now takes extra time to support her own children to overcome their stress and nervousness. Understanding the challenges that families in her community face due to the impact of displacement and trauma, she shares her experience from her training.

We were visiting my relatives, and the mother was yelling at her child. I told her that every age has its own nature and behaviour related to that age and that listening to our children makes them trust us and turn to us

- Fatima .

Finally, Fatima reflects that avoiding clashes within her own family has also been a challenge. Due to the many stresses they have experienced it is unsurprising that tensions arise. But using the coping mechanisms she has learned she is now overcoming them.

By providing myself a safe space and doing what I love, such as listening to music or drinking a cup of coffee, this makes me feel calm’

- Fatima .

*Situation Report #8: Recent Developments in Northwest Syria

** UNICEF Syria conflict 10 years on