Naomi Campbell Is Humbled By Syrian Crisis + A Penned-Down Recount Of Refugee Visit

Far from being just a model, Naomi Campbell is also an activist. You should know that the 46-year-old british was down at Syria on the 15th of march for a cause, not solely for her own charitable foundation; Fashion for relief, but for a new partnership with Save The Children. Campbell’s visit came ahead of the six-year mark of the Syrian conflict on Mar. 15, which has now stretched on longer than World War II.

“It was a humbling experience,” said Campbell of visiting Za’atari. “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I traveled out there, but I came away full of hope for their future and with a renewed admiration for the positive spirit of humanity. That’s not to say we didn’t meet people who had been through terrible ordeals, it was just so impressive how well they were handling the situation. Save the Children’s team was fantastic, and all the work they are doing on the ground is really incredible. Everybody commits so much time and energy to making these people’s lives better.”

During Campbell’s visit, she paid the save the children’s kindergarten a visit, where she witnessed younglings partake in singing and dancing sessions. According to the organization, playing music helps familiarize the children with loud noises like bombings and airstrikes they have experienced. Naomi is particularly taken by a family of three girls in which she finds one very peculiar -Yara. Campbell penned down the moving experience and shared with Vogue; read below:

“Through a maze of tents and dusty roads, Yara and her mother Rana led me into their modest home, beaming of pride as they invited me in for tea. At just four years old, this makeshift shelter, made of a scrap metal and tenting with no heating, is where Yara has spent the majority of her life. The Za’atari Refugee Camp is the fourth largest city in Jordan, housing over 80,000 Syrians affected by the war, of which more than half are children. March 15 marks the six-year anniversary of the war, which has spanned longer than World War Two and either wounded or killed one in 10 Syrians. This crisis does not end once they leave their homeland, but continues to haunt their hopes of a new life with a lack of access to healthcare, education and basic rights.

My apprehensions about my visit were quickly dissipated when I saw the smiling faces of hopeful children. Yara is one of three girls, including her youngest sister Nida who was born at the camp. Back in Syria, the family witnessed aerial bombings, public shootings and more atrocities that no child should ever witness. Due to this psychological and emotional trauma, Yara stopped speaking completely, hindering cognitive development, and was afraid to be alone or in the dark. It was only once the family settled at Za’atari Camp that Yara improved as a result of the programs implemented at Save the Children’s Sunshine Early Learning Centre. In the classroom, Yara lights up with the enthusiasm of a curious child. Singing along with characters we all know, like Barney the dinosaur and Smurfs, the children disassociate loud noises with negative memories, such as bombings, to help them cope. After just seven months in the program, Yara regained her basic childhood rights, to play and laugh, and began speaking again. This is just one story of the thousands of children that are being helped in Save The Children’s programs across multiple refugee camp. This war has contributed to the largest refugee crisis in history, and it is crucial that this generation of children displaced by war does not go unattended to and uneducated.

For over a decade, I have focused my time on Fashion For Relief, to mobilise the industry to support the most pressing issues of our time. From aid for Hurricane Katrina victims to rebuilding efforts after the earthquake in Haiti, I have strived to understand how we can provide solutions to the world’s most critical issues. This year’s Fashion for Relief event will be held in Cannes in May and all proceeds will go towards Save the Children and its Syria Crisis Appeal. There are an estimated 2.9 million Syrian children, aged one to six, who have only ever known war. They are the future and deserve a chance at an improved life. Through hardship, the refugees have been resilient, tenacious, and most importantly, hopeful. Witnessing their optimism and faith firsthand has renewed my admiration in the spirit of humanity.

In partnership with Save The Children, Fashion For Relief is calling on the international community to give light and voices to these children. It is time to #SaveSyriasChildren.”


Abiodun Odusola

Creative Writer. Nature's Muse.

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