The failure of international donors to meet the UN’s funding target for Syrian refugees will put the lives of millions of children at risk over the coming year.
A $5bn shortfall will impact not only upon Syrian refugees themselves but also on the host communities in which they now live. New research carried out by Plan International in Lebanon – which hosts close to 1.5 million Syrian refugees – reveals shocking statistics on child marriage and child labor among the Syrian community in particular.
In North Lebanon and North Bekaa, child labor is rife: 42% of Syrian boys aged 15-17 are currently employed. Research also revealed that 16% of girls aged 15-17 were either engaged to be married or already someone’s wife.
These figures should act as a wake-up call to the international community, says Colin Lee, Regional Programme Director for Plan International in the Middle East.
“The situation for refugee children caught up in the Syrian crisis is desperate. Families are struggling to meet basic needs, forcing them to marry off daughters and send sons out to work. Although this means one less mouth to feed and a little extra money to put food on the table, it is having a devastating impact on the lives of their children.
“If the gaping funding gap that this conference has left us with is not closed, we will be unable to reach the millions of people who are most desperately in need of assistance. We’re now into the eighth year of this conflict and the international community must not turn its back on the children caught up in this crisis.”
[Plan International] See also More Misery for destitute Syrians