Feb 26, 2020

proud of our teams

Its the time of the year when annual project reports come into my mailbox. It is the time of the year where I am so proud of my people, our teams and local friends and partners. What we can achieve together you at home and we in the international office and the many many staff and volunteers in our countries - it is amazing. 

let me share my favorite story from this weeks reports. 

Alisher is a boy with autism, who struggles to interact well with his world, struggles with behaviour and attention and is not able to speak. Alisher’s mother has often in the past had feelings of shame or hopelessness when she goes with her child out into her community. She is bombarded with questions like: ‘Why is your child behaving like that? Why can’t he sit still? Why doesn’t he speak?’. For this reason she finds it difficult to take her son out into public or participate in community events like weddings.

But in December this year Alisher and his mother were invited to a community event organised by one of our key local partnres to celebrate International Disability Day (3 December). This event took place in one of the local event venues and over 100 children and their parents were there. It was a special day, with beautifully decorated tables and festive food donated by local sponsors. Children with disabilities did performances, dances and poetry recitation. Two locally famous singers came to the event, which brought a celebratory atmosphere through their music, inviting everyone to participate in local communal dancing.

During the programme, Alisher ran around in the venue. As usual he was not able to sit still for a long time, and this concerned the mother. She was wary of what people might say about her son ‘not behaving’. But one of the staff members put her at ease: “This is the day for these children to dance celebrate. Let him enjoy it!”. And he did! Alisher was so happy to run around and be a part of all that was happening. When it was time to leave, Alisher’s mother was crying tears of gratitude: “This is the first time I leave a community event without hearing criticism in my ears from those around me. Usually I hear questions and comments about my son’s bad behaviour, and that makes me not want to take him out anymore. But today both I and my son had a good time!”.

Providing a new community, an atmosphere of caring acceptance has helped this mother to receive new hope for her child and grew her capacity as a carer. 

Thanks fro partnering with us to build hope, community and capacity. 

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Jan 21, 2020

Physical and Emotional Transformation

Hala is 18 years old and has been living in a Yazidi, Internally Displaced Peoples camp, since ISIS came to her village in the Sinjar region five years ago. When we first met her over a year ago, she never smiled, had no friends and had no hope in life. She would not leave her home because of her physical disability of severe bilateral clubfoot. Both feet were at a 90 degree angle pointed inwardly since birth. Despite spending all her time at home, her relationship with her family was strained. In January 2019 she underwent corrective surgery with one of our partner NGOs and had an amazing outcome of a straightened foot. We helped care for her in the hospital and back at her home with both nursing care and physical therapy. She then had surgery on her left foot in October 2019 with her cast removal just over a month ago. She now has two straight feet and is re-learning how to ambulate but is slowly walking as other young women her age!

Over the past year of working with Hala, not only has she changed physically, but also mentally and emotionally. We have really tried to instill in her how valuable she is no matter what her feet look like. She smiles now, laughs, and has started loving herself. She has friends and leaves her house to hang out with them. Her relationship with her family is also better. Just in the past few weeks she has joined one of our peer groups of young women her age with similar physical disabilities and said she really enjoyed it! She previously had not wanted to participate in a group but now says she looks forward to it. We have seen her transform from a shy and insecure girl to a vibrant, young woman.

Jan 18, 2020

Stepping into the New Year together.

Shoes lined up outside our exercise venue.
Shoes lined up outside our exercise venue.

With your support, more than 300 Syrian refugee women were able to attend our fitness classes at least once during 2019! After a short break over the holidays, we have relaunched our classes in the New Year and are looking forward to all the ladies that will join us for exercise. Every week new shoes are lined up at the threshold to the tent where the classes take place in one of the refugee camps. Attendance depends on the weather, children’s school timetables, husband’s work hours, visiting relatives and responsibilities that limit the women’s abilities to leave their home. However, even during times of political up-heal, fighting in their homeland and instability in our country, every single time that our classes take place, women show up to exercise, encourage one another and form community.

Our fitness instructors have opened their hearts to the women that come together for class and have in turn become an important part of their lives. In the words of one of the participants: “On the days of the week that I exercise, I am the happiest and least prone to flare up in anger. I have come to love the fitness instructors and sometimes I just come to exercise in order to see them. Through being encouraged myself, I have also learned to encourage others and care for the people around me.”

Women stretching at the end of class.
Women stretching at the end of class.
 
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