16 April 2014 Syria’s Children: Dreaming of Home Rayan, a 12-year-old Syrian girl, fled from her neighborhood after armed clashes came too close to home. She and her family had no time to gather clothing or furniture before they were forced to leave. The small basement they now call home is packed with 21 other people also seeking safety from the surrounding violence. Their basement refuge is unheated. When asked how they handled the cold of winter, Rayan said: “All we have is an old barbeque where we burn things for heat. Sometimes we also put sticks and stones on it and use it for cooking.” At night, the lack of heat is the worst. The family sleeps on the floor with a thin blanket below them and another to cover themselves. “We only have this one blanket, so we all sleep beside each other to get warm. Sometimes I sleep wearing my jeans,” she said. Rayan’s morning tasks are dangerous in her temporary home. The shower uses water from a metal barrel with an electrical spool that heats the water. Putting a hand in the water or getting too close to the metal barrel when the spool is inserted could electrocute and possibly kill one of the family members. Rayan said she enjoys school but is often distracted because of hunger. She eats the same meal every day. “I'm really bored of lentils,” she said. “I don't bother asking my mom about food because I already know that it is going to be lentils with some bread almost every day.” Rayan’s biggest dream is to have a home. She said the cold, dangerous basement she lives in is not home to her. For Rayan and thousands of other displaced Syrian children, ‘home’ is a distant dream. They live in crowded, dangerous spaces that lack basic supplies. While we can’t give them their home back, we can help them find housing, food, and warm clothing. Children should have the freedom to dream big. A safe place to lay their head is a neccesity, not a dream. Consider donating today to help children like Rayan regain the comfort and safety they once knew. Rayan’s story is the second part of a series looking at the lives of Syria’s children. Read Ahmad’s story here.