Global Handwashing Day celebrated in refugee camps

By Chris Niles ERBIL, Iraq, 29 October 2013 —Handwashing is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to prevent disease, and in a crowded refugee camp where families are sharing sanitation facilities it’s especially important. There are about 100,000 refugees living in camps in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and UNICEF is working to […]

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Marriage, not a girl’s only option

By Melanie Sharpe ZA’ATARI CAMP, Jordan, 29 October 2013 – Like many Syrian girls displaced from their homes and now living as refugees, Manal* was engaged to be married at the age of 16. “In Syria, it was common for girls to get married early and here my father said I have to marry. I […]

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Continuing studies amid continuing unrest

By Razan Rashidi At a vocational training centre in suburban Damascus, Widad, Douaa, Georgina and Dalia have been able to continue their studies, amid continuing unrest. DAMASCUS, Syria, 28 October 2013 – It’s morning, and Widad, 19, waits impatiently for Douaa, 18, in the alley outside her house. Douaa finally arrives, smiling and apologizing for […]

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In Syria, UNICEF supports vaccination campaign for children

By Razan Rashidi Damascus, 27 October 2013 — “Nurses will visit the school and give you vaccines that will protect you from disease and sickness,” announces Rihab to her sixth-grade students at the end of the school day. It is a scene repeated in thousands of classrooms in Syria ahead of a vaccination campaign that started […]

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“That was our goal, to make children happy.”

By: Chris Niles SULIMANIYAH, Iraq, 27 October 2013 —It’s a sight you see all over the world on a Saturday afternoon; boys lined up in their football uniforms, getting ready to go onto the pitch. Football is one of the world’s most popular sports, but for these boys, on this day, it has extra meaning. 

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“I’m crying every day.”

By Chris Niles ERBIL, Iraq, 20 October 2013 —Dima, 12, dreams of becoming a doctor. There are days, in Kawergosk refugee camp, when that ambition seems very far away. “The situation is not very nice here. I would like to leave this place as soon as possible,” Dima says. The family, which is part of […]

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Emergency school supplies help conflict-affected children in Syria back to learning

By Tomoya Sonoda & David Youngmeyer* DAMASCUS, 19 October 2013 – A Back to Learning campaign in Syria has reached more than 400,000 conflict-affected children with school bags and education supplies, although security and funding challenges continue to hamper humanitarian efforts. 

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Kuwaiti funds build modern sanitation facilities in northern Iraq

By Chris Niles ERBIL, Iraq, 13 October 2013 — On a hot Sunday afternoon in Darashakran refugee camp in Kurdistan, four girls are on their way to collect water. They range in age from 10 to 12 and are carrying plastic water containers and saucepans.

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A city surrounded by conflict struggles to cope under weight of displacement

Field Diary By Mougabe Koslengar, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Specialist, UNICEF IDLEB, 18 October 2013 – As we drive through the countryside of Syria’s north-west Idleb governorate, we pass many villages devoid of life. I see buildings riddled with bullet holes and holed by shells. Part of an apartment block has collapsed.

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Happy Eid. Don’t forget us

By Chris Niles ERBIL, Iraq, 20 October 2013 —The Muslim holiday of Eid is traditionally a time for family gatherings, feasting and celebration, one that has extra significance for children. On Tuesday morning, the first day of the four-day holiday last week, Kawergosk refugee camp is quiet. At home, before the conflict, extended families would […]

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Children and families trapped in Al Waer, Homs, face dramatic worsening of humanitarian conditions

Field Diary By Abdulkadir Musse, Senior Emergency Specialist, UNICEF HOMS, 9 October 2013 – An eerie calm descends over Al Waer, a suburb on the north-western outskirts of the city of Homs, as we enter this area that is home to some 400,000 people caught in the middle of on-going conflict. I am part of […]

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Journey of a schoolbag in Za’atari

ZA’ATARI, Jordan, 8 October 2013 — This week UNICEF Jordan together with partner Save the Children Jordan are finishing the distribution of school bags and supplies to students at Za’atari School 2. Throughout the summer, School 2 was running catch up classes for children who had missed school, so first semester started at the beginning of […]

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UNICEF emergency education support in Tartous, western Syria

TARTOUS, Syria, 7 October 2013 — Many children in Syria face extraordinary challenges to continuing their education. The on-going conflict has left almost 4,000 schools – or around one in five – damaged, destroyed or sheltering internally displaced families. Some 2 million children in Syria have been displaced. 

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Improving community support and spirit for vulnerable families across Jordan

By Toby Fricker ZARQA, Jordan, 30 September 2013 — The sound of children singing can just be heard above the steady rumble of traffic. “I wonder if it’s your face that is glowing or the moon above the trees,” they sing. It’s a traditional Arab folk song. This is Zarqa, a busy and bustling city, just […]

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You reach the point where you don’t care about anything at all

By Chris Niles ERBIL, Iraq, 30 September 2013 —Visiting a refugee camp is a very personal experience for Maulid Warfa. “It’s like going back in time,” he says. UNICEF Iraq’s South Zone Chief is based in Basra, but he’s come north to help with the influx of more than 61,000 refugees who have arrived from […]

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