Orlando Bloom meets Syria’s refugee children: “They just want their lives back”

High five! Orlando greets a Syrian boy at an adolescent-friendly centre in Za'atari refugee camp. High five! Orlando greets a Syrian boy at an adolescent-friendly centre in Za’atari refugee camp.

Actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom met with Syrian children and their families last week at Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, near the Syrian border.

Orlando arrived in Jordan on 8 April. The next day he visited a Syrian family in the northern city of Irbid, who fled violence in Aleppo two years ago. Like so many other refugee families, what little savings they had are gone and life has become increasingly difficult.

Orlando joins children in a dance at an adolescent-friendly centre in the Za'atari refugee camp.Orlando joins children in a dance at an adolescent-friendly centre in the Za’atari refugee camp. Samer (centre), surrounded by his wife and five children, tells  Orlando Bloom about being tortured in his homeland, and about the fears that his children still carry even after being in Jordan two years. Samer (centre), surrounded by his wife and five children, tells Orlando Bloom about being tortured in his homeland, and about the fears that his children still carry even after being in Jordan two years.

“These families had lives that most of us can relate to,” Orlando told UNICEF. “Parents had jobs. Kids went to school and got to play. This war obliterated their lives and uprooted them from their homes. Now they’re living in precarious situations with little or no hope for their futures,” said Bloom. “They don’t want to live like refugees. They just want their lives back and a future for their children.”

In Za’atari, Orlando visited a UNICEF-supported school. Even in a refugee camp, schools help to provide children with some semblance of normalcy. Za’atari is one of the largest refugee camps in the world, with a population of over 100,000. Families live in tents and tiny caravans in a harsh desert area with freezing temperatures in the winter and extreme heat in the summer.

Orlando Bloom shares a laugh with members of a Syrian refugee family in the two-room shelter where they have lived since their arrival two years ago. Orlando Bloom shares a laugh with members of a Syrian refugee family in the two-room shelter in Irbid where they have lived since their arrival two years ago. Orlando Bloom makes friends with Esmaeil, 12, in the northern city of Irbid. Esmaeil and his family are refugees from Aleppo. Orlando Bloom makes friends with Esmaeil, 12, in the northern city of Irbid. Esmaeil and his family are refugees from Aleppo.

UNICEF and partners are providing life-saving support through vaccinations, medicines, education, clean water and safe areas for children to play. But it’s still not enough – we’re urgently seeking more funding to help vulnerable children and families affected by the conflict. Over five-and-a-half million children have been affected since the conflict in Syria began in 2011.

Back to school - Orlando joins a Grade 6 English class. Back to school – Orlando joins a Grade 6 English class in the northern city of Irbid. It's playtime for Orlando Bloom and Syrian children at a UNICEF-supported child and family protection space.It’s playtime for Orlando Bloom and Syrian children at a UNICEF-supported child protection space.

Over a million Syrian children are now living as refugees in and around Syria. Host communities are often overwhelmed and there is limited access to clean water, nutrition or education.

Orlando added: “These children have seen more extreme violence than any child should.”

All photos © UNICEF/ NYHQ 2014/ Giovanni Diffidenti

Orlando joins children during a music activity at a UNICEF-supported child friendly space. Orlando joins children during a music activity at a UNICEF-supported child friendly space.

Comments

  • Juleyka Uddin

    Love this!!!more media coverage like this should be done to raise awareness so public can get donating asap

  • dareen

    Though all the tragedies in my homeland, this visit made me feel happy, thanks.