Oxfam has issued a stark warning over the worsening situation for refugee children fleeing the Syrian civil war.
Millions of civilians have escaped across the border into neighbouring Lebanon and Jordan.
But the conditions now found in the burgeoning refugee camps are deteriorating significantly as winter bites, putting huge pressure on local infrastructure, including education.
In both countries, schools are bursting at the seams, on the verge of collapse so today, TES has joined with Oxfam to launch a new campaign. As well as encouraging donations to Oxfam's Christmas appeal, we are asking students to write and draw messages from their class for Syrian children living in refugee camps in Jordan and temporary accommodation in Lebanon.
The pictures – which can be sent to TES by email or via social media, using the hashtag #HelloSyria – will be shared with children in the Syrian refugee camps. TES has made a financial donation to the Oxfam appeal to provide blankets to babies and small children on behalf of the teachers taking part.
Mark Goldring, Oxfam's chief executive, said: "Life is becoming even harder for refugees as winter starts to bite. Temperatures will continue to drop over the coming weeks and inevitably that will start to take its toll on people’s health.
“Children are particularly vulnerable. Many are sleeping on the cold ground wearing cotton shirts and a simple cough can quickly escalate into something much more serious.
“The scale of this crisis is massive and ultimately it needs to be resolved politically so Syrians – both inside the country and out – can start to rebuild their lives. But these families we work with need more help, urgently.
“People have been incredibly generous last month in giving to the Philippines appeal and we are asking them to dig deep again if they can.”
This time last year, the refugee population in Lebanon was 100,000, it is now around 1m. In Jordan, where more than 550,000 Syrians have been registered, 80 per cent of the refugee population is living in makeshift tents and mostly inadequate housing.