The devastating Syrian civil war, which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and forced a majority of the population to flee the country in search of a safe haven, is now entering its fifth year.
The ongoing migrant crisis has been dubbed the biggest refugee catastrophe since the World War II, and while a lot is being done to help the people who left their homes behind, an internationally renowned soccer player is using his star power to bring attention to the plight of the biggest victims of the disastrous war — the Syrian refugee children.
Real Madrid star and Save the Children’s global artist ambassador Cristiano Ronaldo recently shared a photo with his 5-year-old son Cristiano Ronaldo Jr., holding a photo of a young soccer-loving Syrian refugee boy named Ayman, who is also 5.
“#SaveSyriasChildren like 5 years old Ayman* who loves playing football as much as Cristiano Junior,” the athlete wrote on Facebook.
Ayman, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, was born shortly before the war began and the horrors he witnessed took such a toll on him that he never spoke.
“He saw and heard things that no child should see, from armed men breaking down doors, to dead bodies lying in the street to sirens going off at all hours," said Save the Children, adding that the little boy’s family soon fled to Jordan, where they currently reside in a refugee camp. Ayman has since been enrolled in Little Hands, a Save the Children-supported kindergarten, and has begun to speak with the help of his teachers, parents and his love of soccer.
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“Cristiano Ronaldo understands how vulnerable children are at that age,” said organization President and CEO Carolyn Miles. “With Ronaldo’s help, we can keep the focus on the children of the Syrian war, many of whom have known nothing but war their entire life.”
This is not the first time the soccer super star has used his fame to highlight the migrant crisis. Not long ago, he invited the father and son tripped by a Hungarian camerawoman on border last year, to his Real Madrid match.
Moreover, he and his teammates even wore T-shirts reading “professional football for the refugees” before the match.