BEIRUT: Britain announced Tuesday a $48 million initiative to provide trauma counseling and education for children affected by the war in Syria, part of a larger push by the United Kingdom and the international community to mitigate some of the impact of the conflict on millions of civilians.
“Millions of Syrian children are at risk of becoming a lost generation,” warned British Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening in a press release as she launched the £30 million ($48 million) initiative to provide needed help for war-traumatized children.
A press release said the new program will reach Syrian children across the region whose lives have been turned upside down by the ongoing conflict, with an initial focus on Lebanon and Jordan.
She said the program will provide trauma care and counseling for children who need it and basic educational supplies to try to bring some sense of normality back to their lives.
The fund will also provide child support services in refugee camps and hand out basic toys and crayons to children.
Speaking ahead of the United Nations General-Assembly in New York, Greening called on international leaders to follow Britain’s lead.
“Stepping up to meet funding shortfalls would send a clear message to the children of Syria that the world had not forgotten them,” she said.
The funding is part of an international push to fund programs that will address some of the worst impacts of the Syrian conflict on neighboring countries and refugees.
Former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown reportedly plans to make an international appeal for $500 million to help Syrian children attend school in Lebanon.
Brown is due to make the appeal in New York at a gathering part of the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
At least 3.1 million Syrian children have been affected by the fighting, most of them younger than 14-years-old. Children have been exposed to horrific scenes of violence and thousands have been killed.
Many inside Syria are without shelter or dependable supplies of food and water while more than 1 million children are now refugees.
“Syria’s children are becoming a lost generation. While British children have been starting a new school year following a summer break, these Syrian children have often been through a living hell,” Greening said.
“They are homeless, destitute and feel totally unsettled in their unfamiliar surroundings.”