Since Syria’s civil war began in March 2011, over 2 million people seeking sanctuary from the raging violence have fled to neighboring countries. Amidst the chaos an increase in mental illness has become evident. With over half of the refugee population under the age of 18, the psychological and emotional stability of Syria’s exiled youth is of particular concern. A generation whose homeland once boasted a middle-class economy with over 90% school enrollment has personally witnessed the shattering of their lives, and now finds itself displaced and traumatized.
Photographer Ed Kashi went to Iraq and Jordan, working with the International Medical Corps (IMC), a humanitarian non-profit organization that provides aid and relief to those affected by conflict and crisis, to intimately illustrate the plight of this lost generation. IMC’s efforts are pushing to increase awareness and improve not only the physical, but also the mental health of young refugees plagued by depression, fear, suffering, and the sense of a life turned upside down. Refugees are increasingly living in camps, both in rural and urban settings of host countries like Jordan and Iraq. The youth residing in these refugee camps represent part of Syria’s next generation; one stuck in limbo in a foreign land with diminishing hope to return.