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    Posted June 18, 2013 by
    Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

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    "I wish I could go back home" -- Hopes and dreams from Syrian children for World Refugee Day


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Aid worker Patricia Mouamar from WorldVision charity visited a tented settlement for refugees from Syria's brutal civil war in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, last month. To mark World Refugee Day, she spoke to several children whose families are being assisted by the charity's food vouchers, in partnership with the World Food programme. Despite their bravery, it is clear these Syria children want one thing -- to go home. "I dream about delicious food, to have a proper meal," says Mohammad, seen in picture four. "I wish rats [wouldn't] eat our bread and clothes ... I wish I [had] games. I wish I could go back to my room in Syria. I wish for the situation to calm down." Mouamar says the crisis shows no signs of abating as the war continues. "You are confronted with the feeling that, without a miracle, the region will either collapse under the weight of the problem or explode with the tensions that it brings," she says. "Everyone is losing patience. People crave home and a return to peace."
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    For World Refugee Day, here is a look at the dreams of Syria’s youngest refugees. Patricia Mouamar, who works with the humanitarian organization World Vision, traveled to the homes of refugees who have settled in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley after fleeing the violence in Syria. Here are some of the faces, and hopes she captured.

    PHOTO 1: 10-year-old Bilal has been in Lebanon for two months. His father and one of his sisters are still stuck in Syria. He said, "I dream of changing everything and going back to Syria, to my school, to my house. I dream of seeing and kissing my father again and going for a walk with him."

    PHOTO 2: One Bilal’s older sisters, Israa is 12. She also thinks of her family left behind. "My message is to stop the war [in Syria]; we are humiliated here [in Lebanon]. I haven't had a shower since a week. I wish that they [the international community] would protect us. I wish I can see my sister safely. She is stuck under the bombs in Syria with her two children. Where are all those countries who said they are helping us?" she asked.

    PHOTO 3: Arwa, a 6-year-old Syrian girl appears in blue, sitting on the floor of her family’s makeshift shelter. "I dream of going back to Syria, and be enrolled in school. I dream there are no snipers anymore,” she said.

    PHOTO 4: Mohammad, 7, holds out his hands to show the size of the rats he often sees in his family’s tent. "I dream about delicious food, to have a proper meal. I wish rats won't eat our bread and clothes, and millipede won't crawl on my back when I sleep. I wish I have games. I wish I can go back to my room in Syria. I wish for the situation to calm down,” he said.

    PHOTO 5: Nour, 11, shows her family’s tent built of cardboard and advertisements of plastic sheeting, pointing to a corner where the rats hide. "I don't have dreams here [in Lebanon]; all my dreams are in Syria. I wish to return to Syria, to my school, to my house and I wish the war stops in Syria and we have peace again," she said.

    "I wish they [decision makers] would change my house here [in Lebanon], because I live in a tent and not a house. I wish there are no rats going into our tent."

    PHOTO 6: Ibrahim, an 8-year-old Syrian boy, has the same wish as many refugees. That everything could go back to normal, like it was before the war came to his town. "I wish I can go back home, to my country, to a safe place. I wish the kidnapping stops in Syria and everything to be the same as it was before."

    World Vision is helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon with food vouchers, hygiene kits, and safe spaces for children to play. Around 800 children have also been able to attend an accelerated learning programs to help them catch up on the school they've missed during the conflict.
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