Since Syria’s civil war began in March 2011, more than 2 million people seeking sanctuary from the raging violence have fled to neighboring countries. The chaos and violence have given rise to a noticeable increase in mental illness in displaced refugees, particularly among youth. 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 percent school enrollment has personally witnessed the shattering of their lives that has left them displaced and traumatized.
To reveal the turbulent lives of Syria’s displaced youth, Ed Kashi travelled to Iraq and Jordan, working alongside the International Medical Corps (IMC)—a humanitarian non-profit organization that provides aid and relief to those affected by conflict and crisis—to illustrate the plight of this lost generation. IMC is focused on increasing awareness and improving the physical 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 rural and urban, in 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.