Heartwarming video with serious message about displaced Syrian children
What would you do if you saw a child out in the cold without a jacket? Would you take the clothes off your own back to help them keep warm?
That was the question posed by a Norwegian charity in a clever video to highlight the plight of Syrian children who have been struggling with harsh winter conditions.
SOS Children's Villages put a young boy in a bus stop without warm clothing on a bitterly cold day – and recorded the reactions of people.
The boy, Johannes Lønnestad Flaaten, 11, was filmed in Oslo. He said: “There were so many nice people. We filmed for two days and I thought maybe only three or four of them would give me their jacket altogether. But there are many more who did it. Many more than those who are shown in the video.”
Synne Ronning of SOS Children's Villages told the Norwegian website The Local: “It's a campaign to raise awareness of people in Syria. People should care as much about children in Syria as they care about this boy at the bus top. The situation in Syria is very harsh.”
Ronning, whose non-profit group is fundraising to provide blankets and shelter for displaced children in Syria, said Johannes had volunteered for the role and added: “He's an engaged 11-year-old boy. He wanted to do it because of the situation for the children in Syria.”
The video has been seen more than five million times.
There are also 435,000 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon – and most are getting no formal school. Living conditions are very difficult, with many living in makeshift shelters or unfinished buildings.
Jim Muir, the BBC's Beirut correspondent, told A World at School about the plight of refugee children who face becoming a lost generation unless they get back into school and learning.
A plan first commissioned by A World at School in September will use double shifts to get children into classrooms in a matter of weeks. It has now been backed by the UK government
Since the report was commissioned, the government of Lebanon has endorsed an operational plan with UNICEF and UNHCR coordinating the response; more than 50 organisations, advocacy groups and international institutions have endorsed a statement calling for full funding of education for all Syrian children affected by conflict, including backing the Lebanon schooling proposal.