Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria

by Middle East Children's Alliance
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria

Project Report | Jul 13, 2015
"It's my duty now to help my children to survive"

By Josie Shields-Stromsness | MECA Program Director

Distributing coupons to families
Distributing coupons to families

With our support, Children of Al-Jalil Center (CJC) just completed distribution of food and hygiene coupons to 600 refugee families living in camps near the border with Syria. We spoke to one of the mothers to learn more about her and her story. Please take a few minutes to read on. 

My husband and I are Palestinian refugees.  Both of us were born and grew up in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria.  My husband is from a village called Lubia and my family is from Nazrareth.  I am 34 and my husband is 36 years old. 

I used to live Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria with my husband and my three children. My daughters are Ranya (ten years old), and Danya (four years old); and my son A’ahd is seven years old.

We used to live in a small apartment and lived a normal life.  We had a routine and the kids went to school. We could afford medical care at a clinic, and we had basic needs covered.  Since the Civil War began, our lives have changed utterly.

We tried to survive the War but the siege on Yarmouk Refugee Camp was catastrophic, especially for the children. We decided to leave the Camp and move across the border to Lebanon in order to protect the children.

My husband could not leave and he is still stuck in the refugee camp i[n Syria]. We haven’t seen him for over a year.  He’s tried many times to come to us, but the Lebanese won’t allow him to cross the border despite the fact that he’s very sick and has problems with his back. He is disabled and can’t work. 

I myself have a problem with my leg. It’s been affected a lot since we came here and I can’t get medication from the UN clinic. Both of my daughters are sick and they can get basic medications, but not enough to remedy the problem. 

I’m living right now in a shelter in one room, nine square meters, with my three children. This shelter is located in a cemetery in Lebanon. There are many other families living in 15 other rooms in the cemetery shelter here. There is one kitchen and one bathroom for all these families. The bathrooms are for women only, not for men. Each time we need to use the bathroom, we need to wait in line and it’s very hard for my daughters. 

My life is focused on two things: first, to take care of my children’s basic needs and second, to help them study and not lose the ability to learn. 

My daily challenge is to reduce the impact of our reality. My children are frightened to leave our room because all around them is a cemetery full of graves, some of them open. 

We used to get some support from the UN, but this support has started to diminish and this is scaring me because we have no other resources except what we receive from the UN and sometimes from other organization like the Children of Al Jalil Center. 

It’s really frightening to not have enough food or medicine for a week.  It’s hard when I can’t offer my children a toy or some small treat to make them happy.  I feel guilty as a mom that I brought these children into the world and now I can’t take good care of them.  I ask the world what they expect from my children.  We wake up every morning, wait in line to use the bathroom and sometimes it takes a week for them to have a shower because there isn’t enough water for daily showers.  Every day when they go to school, they need to cross the cemetery and when they come home they need to cross the cemetery.   Sometimes, the only place for them to play is the cemetery. 

I feel helpless because I can’t take care of my own medical needs and I can’t walk properly and who cares?  I want to take care of my children.  It’s my duty to help them survive.  Being far from my husband is hard because he needs someone to take care of him too.  I live with these burdens every day, every hour.

Sometimes I think what we Palestinian refugees experienced in 1948 continues from generation to generation.  What makes me strong is how my mother struggled to keep me alive, and I know it’s my duty now to help my children to survive.  We aren’t asking for much, just for my family to be reunited and my children to live with their father.  I want enough food and water for my children and a small place for them to live and play and sometimes feel like children.  I want medicine for us all so we can be healthy.

I want the Civil War to stop because I’m not the only one in this situation—there are millions of people like me living like this from day to day.

A father holds up the supplies purchased w coupons
A father holds up the supplies purchased w coupons
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Organization Information

Middle East Children's Alliance

Location: Berkeley, CA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @MECAforPeace
Project Leader:
Josie Shields-Stromsness
Berkeley , CA United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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