First Person

How is a Syrian child different from a kid anywhere?

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A must-see video brings the conflict home and shows how young lives change in times of crisis.

By Michael Borum, web manager at Oxfam America.



As the conflict in Syria enters its fourth year this month, I’m moved to share this powerful video from Save the Children UK. Innocent children and families have been hardest hit by the crisis in Syria, with their lives upended and thrown into chaos. Millions are living in camps in neighboring countries, uncertain of when they will be able to return home, though certain that the homes, neighborhoods, schools, and playgrounds they once loved are probably gone. (Hear one child refugee’s story in her own words here.)

The video, which has an astounding 4 million-plus views in two days, uses a sobering series of images, with the camera focused on a young British girl (in some cases literally attached to her) over the course of what you’ll see is probably a year, from one birthday to the next. You see how the chaos and fear gradually seep into her life, hovering in the background at first, barely noticeable to her, then slowly closing in until the house shakes and bombs explode and she and her family must flee.

I believe it illustrates for us all how quickly a happy, innocent life can change from hope and joy into despair. The underlying message for me: this child, and any child in the world, could easily be mine. The only difference is the circumstances.

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