14 March 2021

Press release - Is it safe to go outside? When can I go back to school? When will life go back to normal? | British Red Cross

  • British Red Cross has supported over six million Syrians since the beginning of the conflict which is now entering its second decade.
  • The charity has provided lifesaving support such as food, blankets, mattresses and other aid and have trained a large number of Red Cross volunteers in Syria.
  • Through the Covid-19 pandemic they are supporting Syrians by providing face masks, hygiene kits and food parcels so that families are able to meet their urgent needs and protect themselves against the virus. 
  • A new social media film highlights the questions Syrians have been asking for 10 years.
  • You can support people affected by the crisis in Syria. To donate to the British Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal, visit redcross.org.uk/syriacrisis

Is it safe to go outside? When can I go back to school? When will life go back to normal?

These are the questions many of us have been asking in the past year – Syrians have been asking them for 10, throughout unrelenting conflict. 

Last week children in the UK returned to school after months of disruption. The impact this has had on young people’s learning and wellbeing has rightly been a real cause for concern. A recent survey commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross found that almost 60% of Syrians had reported missing years of education, if they were even able to attend at all.

This has contributed to a devastating impact on the mental health of Syrians which has been compounded by the COVID pandemic. Two in three young Syrians have experienced anxiety with more than half having struggled with depression and anxiety.

The UK and the world has seen the devastating impact the pandemic has had on people’s jobs and livelihoods. In Syria nearly 50% have lost their income because of the conflict alone with the pandemic only adding to this pressure. Food and basic necessities are also a huge issue with eight in ten young Syrians having struggled with finding or affording enough in the past decade. 

Despite everything, most young Syrians surveyed said they are optimistic about the future. Their hopes and ambitions for the next decade are universally recognisable: safety and stability, a chance to have a family and a well-paid job, affordable and accessible healthcare and services, and an end to the upheaval and conflict. 

The British Red Cross has been there for people in Syria since the start of the crisis ten years ago and are still supporting Syrians today, and will continue to be there for as long as is needed.

You can support people affected by the crisis in Syria. To donate to the British Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal, visit redcross.org.uk/syriacrisis
Hamza, 21, who left his home in Syria at 14 years old, after seeing his older brother tortured for refusing to join the fighting. Hamza now lives in the UK.

“People didn't go to school. Before [in Syria] I was going to school just one day. After I stopped because of some problems. All my friends died in the school. Something bombed the school. A small thing [from] the bomb get in my head a little bit. That's why I didn't go to school.”

On being able to study in the UK: “I feel so good to be honest. I like studying because all my family loves to study. My dad he’s a football coach. My mum, she's a fashion designer. My brother, he's a vet. My sister as well she's Arabic teacher. My father as well he's in this country [now] so he wants to study business.”

“My hope [for Syria] is peace. I hope the young people live their life, they're enjoying their life. I hope everything gets back [to before] again in Syria because Syria is an amazing country. The Muslim and the Jewish people and Christian people and other religions they live together. We love each other and respect each other and help each other. I like this in Syria. I hope everything is going back to before.

“[Young people] they need too many things. The young people need a lot of help - how they will study. They need electricity. Sometimes it’s difficult to find water. Sometimes the bread, the food as well is so difficult to find because everything is expensive. They didn't have anything. The food there is more expensive than to this country. 

“To be honest I'm not thinking about myself, I'm thinking all the time about my family to make them happy. If my family's happy I will be happy. That's it. Because when you do good, the good comes back to you.”


Notes to editor:
The British Red Cross
For 150 years, the British Red Cross has helped people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them recover and move on with their lives. redcross.org.uk