In Syria, A School Helps Children Traumatized By War
The skinny boy says he’s 12, though he looks years younger. He points to a crayon drawing he created this summer, when he arrived at a U.S. government-supported childcare center in Raqqa, Syria.
It’s mostly colored in black. There’s a tank. An aircraft. A crude figure of a man with a wispy beard holding an oversized gun.
“This is when ISIS shelled my home,” he says. “My sister and niece were killed. Just like that, two missiles.”
In the picture, there’s a red tongue of flame rising from the roof of his home.
“When the house was hit, the smoke was red like this,” he says.
Therapists have known for decades that a primary way young children communicate and comprehend trauma is by drawing pictures. If that’s true, these drawings on the wall are one collective scream.
There are childish scrawls of beheadings. Corpses. Planes dropping bombs. One small boy gestures to the picture he made. His eyes are pinched by burn scars.
This school, along with 10 others like it, is designed to ease the kids back into something like a normal life.