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Press Centre (4/2014)

Rezzan's biggest dream is to wear her red dress again

Rezzan from Idlip stays in Adana camp and wants to be a teacher when she grows up. ©UNICEF/Turkey-2014/Yurtsever
ADANA, Turkey, March 2014 – Syrian children forced to flee their country and take cover in neighboring countries, also had to leave their lovely belongings behind. Those things — a dress, a book or a toy — are now just memories. It is not the expense of these childhood tokens, but their value is immeasurable for these child refugees. They are destined to be remembered as lost many decades later. 

Rezzan, a nine-year-old from Idlib, cannot forget a special dress. Her eyes widen as she describes it to me and visualizes every detail: “It was a long dress,” she says. “It was bright red and very fancy. I miss that dress the most”. 

Unfortunately, the memories she has of her country are not bright and pleasing as her red dress. As we spoke, the toll the crisis has taken on her childhood was clear to see.. She described the airplanes, bombings, howitzers, conflicts, prisons and torture with disturbing detail for a nine-year-old child. 

Her house was damaged by the bombings, but luckily she and her family survived because they were out visiting her aunt. They were able to recover just a few belongings and toys from ruins. “I lost my grandfather and uncle because of this conflict. My uncle was shot by four bullets” she adds.

Rezzan stays in Adana Sarıçam Camp with her father, mother and six siblings. They arrived to that camp 14 months ago from Idlib. She is in the 3rd grade at school and wants to be a teacher when she grows up.

Rezzan says she comes to UNICEF’s Child Friendly Space (CFS) twice a week where her favorite activities are painting and playing with toys. She adds she likes the new appearance of CFS: “It is very colorful now and very nice. My friends also like it a lot”.

At the end of our conversation, she gives a last pose with her little sister and innocently invites me to call on her in Syria once the war is over. “Our house is at the end of ramp." 

Story and photos by Ayberk Yurtsever
UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org