When we started Little Heroes in Lattakia in 2015, Lisa was one of many displaced children who came to take part. Like each of her peers, Lisa had her own story to tell, but she needed love, time and patience before she would be ready to share it with us. When we first met her, Lisa was very quiet and withdrawn, and her eyes bore more than a hint of the sadness and suffering she had already endured.
The following year, 2016, proved to bring a breakthrough. One of the activities was a competition in a maze, two teams trying to reach the other side first. The children were laughing and shouting, running and tripping, breathless. Happy, innocent and fearless.
Apart from Lisa.
She froze on the spot, eyes wide, unable to continue. Something within this seemingly trivial game had touched deep upon Lisa’s psyche.
Lisa then told us that, when her family had fled their ISIS-controlled hometown, they had had to make their way through a minefield littered with bodies. These awful memories came flooding back, triggered by an event where enjoyment and happiness were meant to be the order of the day.
Through counselling and spiritual support, we helped Lisa. She has been able at last to process what had happened to her and she could participate fully with the other children in all activities.
In 2017 and 2018, Lisa came to Little Heroes again; she is now confident and enjoying life, growing up in a world where she can now see a future for herself and her family.
Lisa’s story, one of so many, shows how much the children of Syria need Little Heroes. The scars of the past cannot so easily be put to one side; investing in these children and giving them positive experiences amidst this terrible war is a vital part of building a brighter future for Syria.
Lisa’s name has been changed to protect her identity.