OFFICIAL PRESS STATEMENT BY NAOMI CAMPBELL
NAOMI CAMPBELL VISITS ZA'TARI REFUGEE CAMP ON EVE OF SYRIAN CRISIS 6th ANNIVERSARY
MONDAY 13 MARCH 2017: March 15th will see the sixth anniversary of the war in Syria, a conflict that has raged longer than World War 2. In advance of the anniversary, Naomi Campbell visited Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan to understand and witness first hand the work Save the Children is doing with child refugees.
Naomi’s charitable foundation Fashion for Relief has been involved in raising money to help with many humanitarian situations over the last decade. The foundation was founded in 2005 in aid of Hurricane Katrina victims and has since hosted events across the world to raise vital funds for disasters such as Haiti in 2010, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief in 2011, and the ebola crisis in 2016. This year’s event will be held in Cannes in May and all proceeds will be donated to Save the Children and its Syrian Crisis Appeal. Tickets will be on sale from 18 April via Ticketmaster France (www.ticketmaster.fr).
Children make up nearly 50 per cent of the 80,000 refugees in the camp. During Naomi’s trip to the Za’atari camp, she visited Save the Children’s kindergarten where she saw children taking part in singing and dancing sessions. Music is played to the children to help them become less afraid of loud noises like bombings and airstrikes, which they have experienced, and make them better able to cope.
Naomi had an extraordinary meeting with four-year-old called Yara, who had stopped talking for two years as a result of the trauma she suffered living through the war in Syria. Naomi also saw youngsters being trained in vocational skills, which included everything from hairdressing to tailoring. This was to prepare the teenagers for working life once they had reached 18 years of age. She also spent some time with 13-year old Nida who had lost her uncle to the war and had to flee Damascus when her local school was bombed. She talked of regularly witnessing dead bodies on the way to school.
Despite the challenging circumstances, Naomi was inspired by the resilience and strength of the children and families she met. Their positivity, aspirations and hopes for the future seem undented despite everything they have been through.
Naomi commented, “It was a humbling experience. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I travelled out there, but I came away full of hope for their future and with a renewed admiration for the positive spirit of humanity. That’s not to say we didn’t meet people who had been through terrible ordeals, it was just so impressive how well they were handling the situation. Save the Children’s team was fantastic, and all the work they are doing on the ground is really incredible. Everybody commits so much time and energy to making these people’s lives better.”
More than 2.9 million Syrian children have grown up knowing nothing but war.
Over the course of 6 years of war, more than 5 million people have become refugees, half of them children. A further 7 million are displaced inside the country.
It has taken a devastating toll on children. Inside Syria, one in three schools is damaged, destroyed or occupied and a third of children are out of school. For refugee children in countries like Jordan, their parents often live on the breadline having lost their livelihoods and savings when they fled Syria, meaning some children have to work or marry young to ease the burden on their families.
Children have also been bombed and starved – it is not known exactly how many children have been killed but the estimates are that it is in the tens of thousands. Indiscriminate weapons have hit homes, playgrounds and hospitals. In addition to the physical injuries to children, there is a hidden toll of this war – the psychological scars.
Save the Children is helping children recover from their traumatic experiences within Syria and across the region, to make sure they can access education and to ensure that families have the basic necessities they need to survive including health care, warm clothes, nutritious food and shelter materials.
To donate to Save the Children’s Syria appeal or find out more information please visit Savethechildren.org.uk/Syria or call 0800 8148 148 or text SYRIA to donate £5.
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March 13, 2017 8:20am ET by Pressparty