School playgrounds across Syria are being transformed into vegetable gardens where children whose diets have been devastated by six years of war can learn to grow — and then eat — aubergines, lettuces, peppers, cabbages and cucumbers.
Traditional Syrian cuisine is typical of the region, and rich in vegetables.
But the six-year war has changed that for much of the population, and many now live mainly on bread or food aid.
According to United Nations figures, unemployment now stands at more than 50 per cent, while nearly 70 per cent of the population is living in extreme poverty, in what was once a relatively wealthy country.
“The ongoing crisis in Syria is having a devastating effect on the health and nutrition of an entire generation of children,” Adam Yao, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s acting representative in Syria, said on Tuesday, ahead of the start of the new school year.