Over 6 million Iraqis have been displaced due to the conflict with ISIS, forcing millions of families to flee their homes and take refuge in camps in Iraqi Kurdistan and North East Syria.
Abdulkarim, a young boy, fled with his family from the conflict in Salahuddin, Iraq and arrived at a refugee camp in North East Syria. The instability and stress of fleeing his home and living in the camp took a toll on Abdulkarim. He began behaving aggressively with his family and other children, even damaging camp facilities.
“We faced many challenges and difficulties through the multiple displacements. I became really afraid of Abdulkarim’s behavior,” his mother said. “His behavior changed through all of the horrible situations we encountered.”
Under the Camp and Settlement Assistance in Syria (CAS) program funded by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Blumont implements activities to support the psychosocial needs of children in two camps for internally displaced persons (IDP) and refugees in North East Syria. Activities include art classes, group support sessions, story-telling, sports, and other activities where children are encouraged to play, express themselves, and develop valuable coping skills to manage the complexities of day to day life in camps.
Working with him and his family, Blumont’s team identified that Abdulkarim has attention-deficit hyperactivity-disorder. They also discovered that Abdulkarim has a talent for art and helped him find ways to use drawing as an outlet.
Over time, Abdulkarim’s confidence and abilities grew. He learned how to work with, rather than against, the people around him. He’s been appointed as the art class assistant and encourages other children to participate in activities.
Abudulkarim now calls himself an artist and signs his drawings as “Artist Abdulkarim.” His work was included in a June 2019 exhibit Blumont organized to feature art by refugee and displaced children.
Abdulkarim’s mother has seen a significant difference.
“With efforts of the team here, Abdulkarim’s act has improved and he began to behave politely and respectfully,” she said. “He is quieter and calmer, and I am astonished by his friendly personality. He is so happy and grateful.”
Camp & Settlement Assistance in Syria (CAS) is a 9-month project funded by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs that focuses on filling critical service gaps in four IDP and refugee camps and settlements to enhance the standard of living of nearly 4,000 camp residents and fulfilment of basic human rights in line with Global Humanitarian Principles.