Frontline Stories

Refugee Children Share Their Life in Art

Given the opportunity to draw their past, present, and future, young Syrian refugees in a World Vision Child Friendly Space in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon express a wide range of feelings. “We have a past that is both beautiful and ugly,” says Bassima, the centre supervisor, who is also a Syrian refugee.


When Faras, 11, draws a picture of his past in Syria, he sketches an idyllic landscape with a smiling sun, a rushing river, and a green field where he and his brother once cared for sheep. Now the happiest thing in his life is coming to the Child Friendly Space so he draws the bus he rides. “In the future, I want to go back to Syria and be a student. I’m not in school here,” he says.


Mahar's drawing is all about Syria. He drew his family home there and his brother standing beside it with arms open wide. In the centre panel, Mahar plays with his friend Shadi in Syria. In the future, he wants to return there as an expert in karate.


In his picture from the past, Yahia, 11, plays ball with friends by his house in Syria (top panel). There’s beauty in Lebanon – trees and flowers – but no people in his drawing from the present (centre). “I love Lebanon, but I love Syria more,” he says. In the future (bottom), Yahia, a famous singer, holds a microphone and sings while others dance.


Flowers, trees, sunshine, birds, and her house in Syria are what Raghad pictures of her past (bottom panel). In the middle is her family’s tent in Lebanon. “There are not really trees and flowers there, but I love them so I put some in,” says the 11-year-old. In the future, she wants to teach English in Syria. “The children ride the bus to school and the walls of the school protect them.”


Mayass, 11, pictures herself playing with her toys in Syria when she was younger (top panel). “What happened? It was all destroyed. There’s nothing here,” she says. In the middle panel, she shows the school she now attends. “In the future, I would like to be a bird and live in freedom,” says Mayass.

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