Online stories to entertain children during Coronavirus quarantine

Syrian children reading Tayara Warak magazine in Mareen camp - 12 March 2020 (Hurras Network)

Syrian children reading Tayara Warak magazine in Mareen camp - 12 March 2020 (Hurras Network)


The spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has forced thousands of families around the world to undergo mandatory or voluntary home lockdown, leading to new suffering for parents in how to fill their children’s spare time and keep them entertained.

On 26 March, the Syrian Child Protection Network (Hurras Network), a relief organization operating in Syria, launched an electronic campaign entitled “You Are Not Alone,” aimed at encouraging Syrians to record videotaped or audible stories for children and then publish them through social media platforms to break the isolation of these children.

Laila Hesso, the director of the organization’s communication department, told Enab Baladi that the project aims at helping families under the voluntary or mandatory quarantine, as well as supporting children and encouraging community initiative.

Hesso pointed out that the idea came to light during the Syrian regime’s imposed siege on the Eastern Ghouta region, as this was the only way in which the organization could help its team members sitting in the basements with the children.

Back then, Hurras Network’s team members distributed themselves between the basements so that they could reach as many children as possible, then stories and songs were recorded as voice messages for children to hear.

The Syrian regime forces imposed a siege on the cities and towns of the Eastern Ghouta area in 2013, that lasted until the militant factions of  Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam), and the al-Rahman Corps reached an agreement with the Syrian regime forces to leave to the Syrian north in May 2018.

Today, many Syrians around the world took part in the e-campaign via social media sites, sending videotaped and audible stories for children. The number of stories published every day reached five and there will be songs to be released soon including some composed by writers specialized in children’s literature and books.

This opened the door for another campaign to be launched later in the English language, specialized in communication between children exclusively through translating Arabic stories into English and vice versa, which increases communication between Syrian children and their peers around the world.

The organization’s publishing team checks all the stories before they are published, to avoid any abusive details and, if any, feedback is submitted directly to the administration.

Later on, the organization has turned some illustrated children stories into audio clips for they are easily delivered to children;  besides, the stories sent by the volunteers of Tayara Warak magazine for Syrian children.

The Syrian Child Protection Network 

“Hurras Network” is a child-protection organization established in 2012 in Douma city, later on, it opened offices in Idlib, Daraa, and the Eastern Ghouta region. Nevertheless, the organization closed its offices upon the Syrian regime forces’ control of these areas.

The organization is currently conducting its activities in Izaz city of rural Aleppo, Maarrat Misrin, and al-Atarib in Idlib.

Hurras Network focuses its endeavors on one specialty as to protect vulnerable Syrian children through a range of activities, including the automated case management system with referral pathways that provides a specialist who addresses the child’s needs directly after the individual study of children’s cases to help them accordingly.


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