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Washington, D.C. 29 June 2018 – Before 2011, Omar was living a normal life with his parents and two brothers. He was doing well in his studies. His father worked in trading and his mother was an employee.

In 2012, Omar and his family had to leave their home in Homs and move to Damascus, where they lived with four other families in very hard conditions. This forced Omar’s father to travel and look for better opportunities, and so the family moved back to Homs to the mother’s parents’ home in Bab Sibaa.

After the displacement to Damascus, Omar became more nervous and aggressive. After his father's travel, Omar started stuttering while speaking in a way that no one could understand his words. This caused a deep frustration and deterioration in Omar's school results, as many children were mocking his way of speaking.

In 2015, Omar's mother came to JRS center asking for help. He was enrolled in the program after evaluating his case and designing special and individual activities for him. Those activities included emotional relaxation sessions and stuttering exercises. After showing improvement, he was integrated in other activities and became a football team member, which affected him positively as he felt a sense of security and belonging. He also learnt poetry reading which increased his self-confidence. With the continuous support sessions, Omar was able to tell a story in a smooth way and manage a conversation skilfully. As for the aggressive behaviour, it was reported to have noticeably decreased. In addition, his grades at school improved significantly.

Omar's mother says, "Omar became more courageous to talk about his problems and his situation, after a long time of being isolated from people. Although he talked early as a child, the very hard circumstances we went through, especially the continuous anger of his father, made him stutter. After moving back to Homs, I saw the JRS center where a lot of children were playing happily, and my children expressed their desire to join them, so I enrolled them and it was the point when they started making new friends and feeling their existence and importance as individuals as they received a lot of care there. They became very attached to the center, to the point where they prevented me from moving to another neighbourhood, as they could lose the chance of coming to the center. 

She adds, "Here, we are feeling safe, I do not worry about my children while sending them to JRS center, unlike other places. They receive education, information and recreational activities. This had a very positive impact on Omar's situation, behaviour, daily activities and relationship with others. He became very confident, acting as a model to his younger brothers. I could not speak enough about your great efforts. Thank you."

The social worker says, "Omar's brother, Mothaz, seven years old, is a very active child. He loves to play with a shining smile in his eyes. Unfortunately, this shine disappears when trying to read as he finds it very difficult to distinguish between letters. We worked hard together from the beginning and now he is able to read words and pronounce them correctly, and it was a great victory for him."

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