18 Apr 2017

Video raises plight of children

Jana.jpg

CathNews April 18, 2017

Video project raises plight of war children

Inspired by her own experience in war-torn Lebanon, an Adelaide student has used her Year 12 studies to raise awareness of the plight of the forgotten children of the war in Syria, The Southern Cross reports.

Jana El-Omr Fandi, 18, says every day she thinks about the estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon, particularly the children who make up half this number. Like them, she knows firsthand how terrifying war can be and the lasting impact it can have on the young.

Jana and her brother were born in Lebanon, although her older two brothers were born in Syria, where her parents lived for 11 years.

Jana's life changed in 2006 when fighting erupted between Israel and Lebanon.

“I remember most of it. I remember how the bombs go off – there would be a big flash and it would light up the whole sky and then you would hear it. We had to hide underground because the bombings were so close to us,” she recalls of the 34-day conflict.

When the war ended, her parents decided that for the future of their four children they had to leave and began the process of joining family in Australia. They arrived in Adelaide in 2009. Jana was 11 years old.

After finishing primary school, Jana went to Nazareth Catholic College. Despite feeling safe and excelling at school, Jana’s past life in Lebanon was never far from her mind.

“After everything I went through I felt I wanted to help those children affected by war and in the refugee camps,” she said.

She was determined to make others aware of their plight and decided to make it the topic of her Year 12 research project. To produce a documentary, Jana returned to Lebanon with her mother and brother and visited a number of camps and schools to talk with the children about their experiences. The 12-minute video received accolades from her teachers and she achieved an A+ for her efforts.

Her hard work paid off and Jana achieved an ATAR of 99.8. Now studying a double degree in law and psychology at Flinders University, she hopes one day to work for UNICEF.

FULL STORY

Jana’s pledge to help children of war (The Southern Cross)

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