In our continued efforts to provide support to Syrian women war refugees, MADRE has co-organized a health workers delegation to the Middle East. Right now, public health and women's health professionals are in Jordan and Turkey, both countries with a high population of Syrian refugees, providing crucial skills training, equipment and supplies to local organizations working with Syrian refugee women.
With your support, MADRE also sent a shipment of vital humanitarian aid supplies to be distributed among refugee women and their children and to local health organizations providing services to these displaced populations. This shipment included baby clothing and supplies as well as absorbent and washable menstrual pads. Other essential pre-natal and maternal health supplies included in the shipment were safe birthing kits, exam gloves, and supplements such as folic acid and iron tablets.
Your support is part of our continued effort to bring humanitarian aid and peace to women and their families facing crisis and poverty. Thank you for backing this crucial work!
I met Mona, a Syrian refugee, when I was in Jordan. She had recently married off her 16-year-old daughter to a 50-year-old man. She told me that by far, it was the hardest thing she had ever done. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and vowed to do all she could to shield her 13-year-old, Yasmin, from the same fate.I got news a couple of days ago that Yasmin is now married, too.Refugee families like Mona’s arrive in Jordan with no more than the clothes on their backs. Struggling to survive, selling their daughters into marriage is seen for many as their only choice. And Syrian girls becoming brides are getting younger and younger, threatening their health and wellbeing.Yasmin, like so many girls forced to marry, can become pregnant while she’s still too young to carry safely. If that happens, she’ll be in danger of life-long injury, organ damage, and even death during childbirth. Coupled with the abuse that she may suffer at the hands of her much older husband, the life she’s bound to lead is not one that any young girl should have to endure.The good news is that through your support of MADRE, you’re helping girls like Yasmin.We’re working with a local Jordanian women’s group, to meet the urgent needs of Syrian refugees. Our partner’s local roots mean that they know where the most vulnerable refugees are, particularly women and children, and how to reach them.With your support, we can help refugee families get food, water and other basic services and relieve the terrible economic pressure that drives these families to make marriages for their young daughters.Thank you for supporting this life-saving work!P.S. MADRE is also working to save lives inside of Syria. Click here to learn more.
In April 2013, MADRE Executive Director Yifat Susskind traveled to the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. There, she met with Syrian mothers who are struggling to make ends meet in the crowded camp. Below are some of her reflections from her first day in the camp:
As I enter Za’atari refugee camp, just over 30 miles south of the Syrian border, it’s like a sprawling city in the desert, all behind barbed wire. Over 100,000 people live here now, after fleeing the violence of Syria’s civil war.
The camp is clearly still under construction, with many new tents and metal caravans waiting for more refugees. It’s a sign that no one believes the war will end soon. In fact, UNICEF estimates that the refugee population in Jordan alone will reach more than 1.2 million by the end of the year. Amina, one of our local partners, is shocked by how much the camp has expanded since her last visit.
Down the main market strip of the camp, people are selling everything: vegetables, chickens, cotton candy, cigarettes, pasta, cooking utensils, cheap plastic toys. The lane is choked with people of all ages, shopping and selling. Little boys, laughing and covered in dust, give each other rides in wheelbarrows. People are picking through a tremendous pile of old, worn shoes for sale. Everything is covered in dust, even the olive trees at the edge of the camp.
The metal caravans, freezing cold in winter and sweltering all summer, are 10 by 16 feet. That’s barely enough room for a family to sleep, and many of the refugee families are large.
The trauma of the war follows women even in the relative safety of Jordan. You can see it most clearly in their eyes: the hollow stares, the sudden tears, the inability to maintain eye contact in conversations. Among the refugees, even those who appear physically unharmed are wounded.
We talked to Meena who came across the border from her home in Homs after Assad’s forces burned down her house and killed her 27-year-old sister. Meena is 39 years old, the mother of 12 children and a grandmother of four. One of her older daughters was married here in the camp. “It is better,” she said, “for protection.” For Meena, married at 15, her daughter’s wedding was a blessing. But other women say that girls in the camp suffer the most.
We spoke with Sabeen, whose 13-year-old daughter was married shortly after arriving in the camp. “We had no money when we arrived in Jordan,” Sabeen told us. “Marriage was the only option to give my daughter protection and security.” Her daughter is now pregnant. Sabeen worries that her young body cannot properly handle the stress of pregnancy. And reproductive health services are scarce in the camp.
Hanan has two children, a boy and a girl. She divorced her husband long ago and came here from Daraa with her children when she heard the army was coming and that they had raped girls in the village nearby. “We left everything and came here, but my only dream is to go home.” She said she will not marry for protection in the camp. She looked away when I asked her why. “There is more than one kind of danger,” she said.
I know that stories of such hardship can be difficult to hear. We’re doing everything we can to bring vital humanitarian aid. Thank you for being part of this effort.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
Still want to help?
Support another project run by MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org. that needs your help, such as: