Catholic Relief Services’ Caroline Brennan, who just returned from the Middle East on one of her many trips to meet with Syrian refugees over the past three years , writes about the signs of hope for Syrian refugees despite their many difficulties. From the Baltimore Sun:
We have reached a solemn milestone in Syria: It has been three years since the beginning of the war that has uprooted the lives of millions of people. From a distance, this conflict can seem overwhelming or even hopeless. Up close, it feels personal — with hope just about the only thing people have to hold onto.
What is striking are the masses of women and children who make up nearly 75 percent of the estimated 2.5 million Syrian refugees. While we don’t see them as much because many women in the region are not comfortable being photographed, they shoulder some of the greatest burdens of this crisis as they struggle to find help and to care for their children, who are too-often severely traumatized.
They express a deep sense of humiliation at being in this position, for needing help to meet their most basic human needs, at having no control over what’s to come….
“Children are the biggest loser in this conflict,” Hasan, another Syrian refugee and former teacher, told me. For some, all they know is war. “If they see a star in the sky, they think it is a plane. When they hear a voice, they think it is the sound of a rocket.”