Little Aila is playing and drawing happily for the first time in weeks. Aila arrived with his family from Baalbeck, Lebanon, to the Lebanese Refugee Centre in Syria, run by SOS Children's Villages. He isn't the only child who is finally able to play like a normal child after weeks of bombing and fear. Dozens of Lebanese children and their families are now sheltered in the refugees centre in Syria where they have peace and security.
Almost 130 refugees from Lebanon have found shelter in a school on the outskirts of Damascus which has been turned into a temporary refugee centre. SOS Children's Villages Syria, in coordination with the Red Crescent placed mattresses, pillows and blankets in the classrooms for the refugees. SOS Children's Villages is also providing basic needs such as medicine and food.
In addition there are a number of entertainment activities to try to improve the morale of the refugees, especially the children. SOS Children's Villages Syria organised a magician show and drawing classes for the children to help them through this difficult time by finding an outlet for their thoughts and ideas. But for some children, feeling secure is not something easily achieved.
One of the children was so frightened he refused to play in the yard of the school. He said he was afraid the warplanes would come and drop bombs. It took some time for his father and the SOS co-workers to convince him that he was safe now, and didn't have to worry about warplanes.
One family of four from Shtorra village close to the Syrian border told co-workers that they have been living for ten days without electricity, unable to take a bath because of the water shortage. The children were relieved to take a shower in the modest bathroom available in the school when they first arrived.
"We survived with the help of God," the mother said, "Two buses taking refugees behind us were fired on by warplanes when they stopped by the road, and we actually saw those buses."
The first request some refugees made was to have access to a TV to watch the news. Many were desperate for information about the status in their villages and the developments in the current conflict. The SOS co-workers are also involving the refugees in the daily running of the centre to help keep their minds off the current situation. The refugees are now trying to make their new surroundings as comfortable as possible and waiting for news for when they can finally go back home.