Hadija, 12, and her younger siblings are fast becoming part of Syria's lost generation. Hadija has been out of school for over a year and has forgotten how to read. When I asked her if she could read, she said yes. But when she looked at the words on the back of a bottle, she realized she could no longer make out the letters.
We can only hope and pray for the best in Syria, but perhaps for Belarus we can do something more. The sanctions against South Africa worked. The regime changed. Two decades later Nelson Mandela, 27 years a political prisoner, is now, as he lies in hospital, the hallowed former President and father of the Rainbow Nation South Africa became.
Ten years ago, when I, along with colleagues from many countries around the world launched the Control Arms campaign, we had a simple message for governments: the arms trade is out of control and ordinary people around the world are suffering at the rate of one death every minute, with millions more forced from their homes, suffering abuse and impoverishment.
Syria - the death toll reaches 93,000, the US administration says it has firm evidence of nerve gas use by the Syrian government and further says it will supply arms to the opposition. Things are moving - but towards what? The debate is focused on the arguments for and against armed intervention. I think that may well be very misleading.
In this context it might seem strange that IKEA, famous for affordable home furnishing, has a role to play. Yet, for the past two years, the IKEA Foundation has been driving a unique collaboration with a team of Swedish designers and UNHCR to design a better refugee shelter for the millions of children and families forced to flee their homes every year.
The members of the G8 are ultimately just eight individuals brought together to try to agree on a number of subjects listed on an agenda. Whether they can do this is another matter, and it provokes the question of whether the G8, with all its renown, reputation and international respect, is really just a power trip.
As the Syrian conflict rages on the European Union took the significant decision in recent weeks to lift the arms embargo on the beleaguered country, paving the way for the Governments of major European countries to send weapons to rebel forces (a.k.a. the Free Syrian Army) fighting against the Assad regime.