A Syrian child’s life in a refugee camp: Sedra’s story

The war in Syria uprooted Sedra’s family and forced them to flee. Now, she and her family live at Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, yearning for their former life.

By Sevil Omer, World Vision U.S.
Published January 14, 2014 at 10:15am PST

Sedra, 7, loves her pink plastic comb.


She cherishes the cracked and dirty hair accessory; it reminds her of school days in Syria.

A reminder of a past life

Little girls wore colorful barrettes and ribbons in their hair to school, she says. They wore combs, too, like the one Sedra scooped up from a pile of dirt at Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, where she and her family now live.

Sedra counts the row of tines — one, two, and three — in a game of math. She loves numbers, patterns, and most of all, her teachers and classmates.

Sedra was among the top students in kindergarten, and math was her favorite subject, says her mother, Hanah.

Sedra attends one of the three schools at the camp now, but her father says it is not enough to keep her motivated or educated.

“I miss my friends,” Sedra says.

Life on hold indefinitely

War uprooted Sedra’s family and forced them to flee their homeland more than a year ago.

More than 1 million Syrian children like her have fled the country with their families, the United Nations says. Syria’s nearly three-year civil war has claimed at least 100,000 lives, including 7,000 children.

Eight million people have been displaced within Syria, and thousands more are leaving Syria every day and heading to Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan.

Now, Sedra and her family face the daily hardships of life in a refugee camp.

World Vision’s support for refugees

World Vision is increasing its presence in Za’atari, where Sedra’s younger sibling has benefited from a diaper distribution led by the organization.

As winter settles on Za’atari, World Vision is working to rehabilitate older, unpaved parts of the camp to prevent flooding, and improve drainage and sanitation in case of heavy rainfall.

World Vision has distributed more than 30,000 coats to children ages 2 to 12 in the camp.

Learn more about the crisis and what World Vision is doing to assist refugee children and families across the region.

Learn more

Help now

  • Pray for children and families deeply affected by this ongoing war, and pray for agencies like World Vision that are seeking to support refugees. Use our prayer points as a guide.
  • Make a one-time donation to provide assistance for Syrian refugees. Your contribution will help deliver essentials like hygiene kits, food vouchers, and established Child-Friendly Spaces, as well as stoves, fuel, and shelter materials to help families survive the harsh winter months.