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Too traumatized to speak: life as a child refugee



  • February 12, 2020
Kelsey Campbell
Kelsey Campbell

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CRASH!

Nabil had never heard such a loud and terrifying noise before.

When the dust and smoke settled, he could see the early morning sunlight pouring in where the ceiling of his house had been just seconds before. Fragments of a missile littered the rubble.

As the ringing in his ears finally started to fade, Nabil could hear his mother screaming his name, looking for him in the wreckage. Every time he didn’t answer, her cries became more frantic. He tried to respond … but terror choked the words in his throat and froze his limbs.

Paralyzed with fear, the boy lay in the smoldering house, waiting to be found. As he waited, he likely replayed the previous 12 hours over in his mind.

The night before, his dad had gone out to find food for the family. Their city in Syria was under siege, and the sound of rockets filled the air. Nabil was worried he’d never see his father again. But the whole family was relieved when their dad walked back through the door. They shared a simple meal then went to bed.

The airstrikes continued throughout the night. Nabil could barely fall asleep because of the noise.

The next thing he remembers is being woken up that morning by that horrible crash … and lying there too scared to move.

When his mother, father, and sisters finally found him, he was behind a door, bleeding from the head. His eyes were wide. His mouth hung open, unable to speak or move.

Nabil became a refugee that day, so I’ve changed his name to protect him. Although his physical wounds have healed, he still bears the emotional and psychological scars of trauma.

Every day, he and his sisters live in fear. And the terrible conditions of his new home aren’t helping him heal.

Winter is especially hard for refugee children. Heavy rains and melting snow leave everything damp. And shivering kids like Nabil are constantly sick due to the lack of healthy food, clean water, and blankets and clothes to keep them warm.

Jobs are scarce for refugees, making these basic essentials impossible to afford. Nabil’s father was lucky enough to find a job as a construction worker for a while, but after injuring his leg on the job, he’s back to being unemployed. Every day is a struggle just to put food on the table.

Nabil needs healthy, fulfilling meals so he can grow up strong. He needs a blanket and thick clothing because of the terrible winter winds and snow. And he needs to be able to go to the doctor — not just when he gets the flu, but also so he can receive the trauma counseling he requires.

Today, you can give a refugee like Nabil the care he desperately needs. Your $35 gift will multiply 5X to provide $189 worth of lifesaving aid like food, warm clothing, heaters, hygiene kits, and medical care for one refugee.

Not only will the medical care you provide help with medicine and doctor visits, but it will give refugees who have experienced traumatic events the opportunity to get counseling as well.

Refugees haven’t been able to heal since the crises began. They’re plagued by brutal winters, inadequate food, and illnesses caused by the cold and malnutrition.

But when you give $35, you will help meet the needs of a refugee as a whole.

And you’ll be meeting their spiritual needs, too. Since the refugee medical clinics and aid distributions you’ll help make possible are run by Christian men and women, every time a refugee receives help, he or she will experience the love of Jesus Christ.

Will you help calm the fears of a refugee child like Nabil? Your generosity today will meet his physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

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