Chilling new viral video shows what war does to ordinary children

No matter your position on war in general, it’s hard to imagine anyone who wouldn't be moved by a video that's going viral on YouTube.

Save the Children UK’s 94-second video — posted on Wednesday and already nearing 5.5 million views — shows how a young British girl sees her life transform from happy and ordinary to bleak and wrought with suffering over a short period of time after a war breaks out. It aims to make people imagine what their lives would be like if they found themselves in the same situation as Syrian families.

“We wanted to show the horror of war for children whose worlds have collapsed,” Save the Children’s deputy director of media Helen Costello told “We hope for those who don't know that much about the situation in Syria, it will be an eye opener. Most people who've viewed it have told us it's helped them see how children could so easily have their lives torn apart.”

Save the Children released the video ahead of the March 15 milestone that marks three years since the start of the conflict in Syria, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 10,000 children. 

The video is done in the style of others before it that shoot just one second of each day in a life to show a trajectory over time. It begins with the well-groomed little girl blowing out birthday candles amid family in a cozy home — and ends with the same girl, now somber and covered in dirt, blowing out a single candle on a makeshift cake in a what appears to be a refugee tent.

The video ends with the text, “Just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening,” and promotes the hashtag #SaveSyriasChildren.

Watch the video and share your reactions in the comments.

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.