Adolescence Lost: Forced Adulthood and a Fragile Future for Syria’s Next Generation
This research is intended to provide insight into the experience of Syrian adolescents and inform effective humanitarian interventions that address actual adolescent needs and provide pathways for adolescents to build a better future for both themselves and for Syria.
- How are adolescents inside Syria thinking about their identity, future, and engagement in (the rebuilding of) their communities or country?
- How are adolescents’ psychosocial wellbeing and emotions regarding their reality affecting their desire to personally develop, give back to their community, and invest in their own future?
- What should humanitarian actors do (or not do) to support Syrian adolescents in pursuing positive pathways for their individual development and community’s future?
Mercy Corps staff alongside six humanitarian partners in Syria listened to and documented the experiences and aspirations of 227 adolescent girls and boys aged 14-19 years, 55% of whom were girls and 45% of whom were boys. This was done by conducting 41 focus group discussions (FGDs) over the course of five months, from late 2017 to mid-2018. FGDs were conducted in 7 research sites across 5 governorates – Aleppo, Al-Hasakeh, Hama, Homs and Idlib governorates. Data collection took place from December 2017 to April 2018.
- Syria’s adolescents have lived full lifetimes before the age of 19.
- There is not a single “Syrian adolescent” profile.
- Adolescent expectations deeply affect wellbeing and resilience.
- Pain is persistent and penetrating, and it cannot be ignored.
- Adolescents are proud to be Syrian - but have very divergent visions of what that means.
- Purpose matters.