Years of life under extremist rule and war have left thousands of Iraqi children old beyond their years and in desperate need of playtime to overcome their trauma.
Malak, 11, says she has “come back from hell”.
She huddles in a long black coat at the Hasansham displacement camp where thousands of people have lived since fleeing their homes in Mosul where Iraqi forces are fighting to oust the Daesh terror group from its stronghold.
“Now that we are here, my dad is doing better,” Malak says.
In this camp, between classes and play sessions, these young Iraqis are “becoming children again”, says Maulid Warfa of the UN’s children agency UNICEF.
“They have seen destruction, they have seen death, they’ve lived in the middle of fierce fighting, they’ve seen enormous explosions. All that has an impact on children’s psychological and social wellbeing.”
Children make up half the Iraqi population and a similar proportion of those displaced from Mosul.
Many have seen their childhood cut short as they take on the responsibility of supporting impoverished, bereaved and displaced families.
“They need to leave their tents and speak to people who will listen to them, rather than hearing their parents talking about war,” said Suzdar Saleh, a psychologist from the NGO Terre des Hommes.
Source: /Jordan Times