By Meryem Goktas
KILIS, Turkey (AA) - A Turkish non-governmental organization on Saturday finished its six-day festival, entertaining around 10,000 Syrian children in Turkey's southern Kilis province.
The International Refugee Rights Association (UMHD) organized the Borderless Festival in the areas liberated by Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield in northwestern Syria and Turkey’s southern Kilis province.
The last event of the festival, where volunteers organized fun-filled activities such as film screening, street shows and workshops was held at the Elbeyli refugee camp in Kilis.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency at the last event of the program which was held at the Elbeyli camp, Deputy Chairman of UMHD, Abdullah Resul Demir said that the festival again reached its goal of bringing smiles to the faces of children living under harsh conditions.
“Together with today’s program, we visited a total of six schools and reached around 10,000 Syrian children and distributed to nearly 5,000 children stationery,” he said.
Demir emphasized that the program was only possible with the support of the volunteers who joined the festival from different parts of Turkey.
“Every year we are accepting 45 volunteers to join the festival with the aim to build an emotional empathy towards these Syrian children and to share their experiences with their families and friends,” he said.
- School material campaign
Demir said that the distribution of the stationery was part of a campaign the organization started to provide school materials to the children during the festival.
Called “A box is coming”, the campaign will continue until October, he said.
Calling on the international community for support for the campaign, Demir said that “there are still around 350,000 children at school age in need of support in this region.''
“These children are in need of compassion, love and attention...we saw that even just a balloon brought joy to them,” he added.
As the conflict in Syria entered its ninth year, children inside the war-weary country continue to bear the brunt of the conflict.
Many young Syrian children have never known peace living in squalid conditions in refugee camps.
According to UNICEF, some 5.6 million children still need humanitarian assistance in Syria, while 2.6 million remain internally displaced.