The Save the Children ambassador was visiting the organization’s work with Syrian refugee families to highlight the ordeal facing women and children caught up in Syria’s terrible conflict.
Mrs Cameron spoke to children who witnessed the violent deaths of their parents and siblings; mums whose children had been killed by snipers and families forced to flee their homes with little more than the clothes on their backs.
She said: “As a mother, it is horrifying to hear the harrowing stories from the children I met today, no child should ever experience what they have. With every day that passes, more children and parents are being killed, more innocent childhoods are being smashed to pieces.”
On her trip to Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, where she saw Save the Children’s work helping Syrian refugee children and their families, Mrs Cameron met:
• A 10 year old girl who witnessed her mother dying after their home was shelled, and whose father is still missing in Syria. Abia said, “I saw my mother die, I saw the house collapse on her. My father …is missing, we do not know where he is.”
• A 13 year old girl who spoke of her terror during constant shelling and bombing, and who helped to retrieve her uncle’s body after he was shot dead in the street. Rana said, “My uncle was shot through the heart – I saw this with my own eyes – I helped to bring in his body.”
• A mother whose 3 year old son was killed by a sniper’s bullet in front of her other 6 children. Wadhaa “I was driving with my children, trying to escape Syria, when the shooting started. How can anyone shoot at a car with seven children in it? They shot my baby and he died. His brothers and sisters saw this happen.”
Risk of a lost generation
Save the Children UK chief executive Justin Forsyth, who accompanied Mrs Cameron on the visit, said, “Samantha Cameron’s support, as a Save the Children ambassador, helps draw attention to the plight of children, caught up in this terrifying conflict. Without more help, and quickly, we risk losing a generation of Syria’s children.”
During her trip Mrs Cameron visited Save the Children projects including health clinics for new mothers and pregnant women, and specialist centres to help children overcome the emotional trauma of war.
She also talked to families who have been helped with tarpaulin, wood and other materials, to make their makeshift shelters warmer and more secure.
Save the Children is working alongside 13 other charities as part of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has launched a national appeal to raise funds to help the millions of Syrian children affected by the conflict.