WACIT Asia 1: “Welcome, I come from Aleppo” – The real saviours of Syrian refugee children in Istanbul

I tried to smile back at the little girl, who greeted me at the school for refugee children in Istanbul. But my immediate thoughts were on yet another failed UN Council attempt to protect her tragic city.

And yet there were the tireless benefactors of the school, teachers and other contributors; the doctors at the nearby health centre – albeit without funds for medicines so far; and the wonderful Zeytindali Psychosocial Project, one of the best I have come across. The therapeutic options such as theraplay, art therapy and EMDR; their integration with education, skills and support for mothers and children; and their engagement techniques were top class.

Even if the soldiers were waiting in the therapy room for the right time to be dealt through, children at the Syrian school generously welcomed us with heart symbols of love – on your first day of the new school year, our warmest wishes!

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