"Was our home burned? Was it bombed? We just don't know."
These words came from a young girl, not even out of elementary school.
She's too young to watch violent films, yet here she is living it – witnessing chaos and destruction before her very eyes.
The Marawi crisis has affected around 80,000 children. These kids lost their homes, schools, and loved ones.
Jamaliah is just one of the thousands of children whose childhoods are interrupted by conflict.
"I don't know if my school was bombed or burned down," Jamaliah said.
Children are not targets
The clash between a local armed group and government forces in Marawi is about to reach its third month.
About 360,000 people were forced to leave their homes, without any certainty on when they could return home.
Displaced students like Jamaliah are also uncertain whether their schools are still intact, as many of them have already been destroyed alongside hospitals and houses.
Children are losing sleep not only because of the sound of bombs, but also due to anxiety over forever losing their homes.
Recurring images related to conflict and frantic escape may also linger in the minds of some children. Hence the need for immediate and continuous psychosocial support.
We need to ensure that their physical, mental, and emotional health are well and protected.
Children may carry these painful memories with them as they grow up. We need to help them heal and recover.
Together, let's save Marawi's children.
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