Orlando Bloom meets Syria’s refugee children: “They just want their lives back”
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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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All photos © UNICEF/ NYHQ 2014/ Giovanni Diffidenti