by Marsha Rakestraw

Syria’s children are suffering.

More than eight million children have been affected by the conflict in Syria and nearly three million have been displaced from their homes. They don’t have access to schools, to medical care, and sometimes even to the basic necessities for mere survival.

UNICEF is striving to bring attention to the plight of Syrian children and to humanize those unfathomable numbers. With anti-refugee sentiment growing, and many people uninformed about what’s happening, it’s even more essential to raise awareness and inspire others to positive action.

UNICEF has created “Unfairy Tales,” short animated videos based on the stories of Syrian children escaping from conflict.

All the videos are narrated by the children (telling their own stories), and the videos all include the tagline “Some stories were never meant for children,” which reflects the dark tone of these films. At the end we see actual footage of the children whose stories inspired the videos.

The “Unfairy Tales” include:

“Malak and the Boat” (1:57 min) – Malak and other refugees are on a boat in a stormy ocean.


“The Story of Ivine and Pillow” (2:35 min) – Ivine and her mother flee while bombs are falling, Ivine’s only comfort is her pillow.


“Mustafa Goes for a Walk” (2:15 min) – Mustafa brings his toys with him as he treks to a safer country, worried that he’ll never make friends again.

Because of their brevity and dark tone, these videos shouldn’t be used in isolation. Pair them with other age-appropriate resources and lead a discussion about some of the positive solutions being pursued, as well as the deeper issues.

Use the “Unfairy Tales” to help others connect to the human faces behind the refugee crisis and to spark discussion about what each of us can do to help.

For more related resources, check out our Pinterest boards on Syria and on Refugee and Immigration issues.