These excerpts of young people discussing their experiences in conflict zones show how they face the loss of their homes and the disruption of their education.
Will You Listen, the companion to a UN report on the impact of armed conflict on children, is a compilation of the views of over 1,700 children and young people in more than 92 countries. Their thoughts, beliefs, and ideas were collected through focus group discussions and questionnaires and reflect what young people living in humanitarian crises have experienced.
Here’s what the young people living in conflict zones have to say about losing their homes and loved ones and missing out on their education..
We lose our homes and those we love
The war had a very negative effect on our life. I lost my father during the fighting and we were displaced. My father was the supporter of our family and after losing him we felt we had lost everything. I could not go to school after that and my education is still incomplete.
– Girl, 14, Afghanistan
In Somalia, we now have ‘seafarers’ who offer us the false promise of a better life, when we pay them to take us across to Yemen. Many of our friends, brothers and sisters do not survive these trips, as they often ordered to swim the last part of the journey.
– Age and sex not specified, Somalia
We live in a huge prison, deprived of the least simple rights that any individual should have.
— Young woman, 17, Occupied Palestinian Territory
We miss out on school
This is a year of ignorance.
– Young woman, 16, Occupied Palestinian Territory
Often during armed conflicts, schools and other education institutions are closed for one reason or another. This has a negative impact on children and young people’s state of mind.
– Girls and young women, 13–20, Iraq
I cannot sit exams as my close relatives died in the shelling. I am too restless to sit in exams. When I read the papers about other shelling it comes back to me and I cannot think about anything else.
– Young man, 17, Sri Lanka
We struggle to survive
Children have lots of problems, for example we have health problems. There are very few clinics and health centres here and we have very limited access to them.
– Boy, 14, Afghanistan
After my parents were killed my brother took responsibility. He is a labourer and earns every day only 200 or 300 Afs which is very little for a large family. I also work with him.
– Boy, 13, Afghanistan
We can be a force for peace
I believe that a change can occur. War can be stopped.
– Young woman, 15, Pakistan
I am currently an Editorial Intern in the Media and Communications Branch at United Nations Population Fund, where I work on editing and writing stories. I have experience working at several NGOs (such as the Center for Reproductive Rights and Family Care International), writing/editing as well as fact-checking and translating.