RI delivering a hygiene kit to Mumtaz's family
In partnership with GlobalGiving, Relief International is providing life-saving relief to Syrian families living in refugee camps and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon. Currently, our programs in the region serve nearly 70,000 Syrians in need.
Our team is ensuring communities have access to adequate water and sanitation facilities, distributing kits with hygiene essentials including soap and toothbrushes, providing baby kits with essentials for mothers and their newborn babies, in addition to educating families on healthy hygiene practices. Relief International’s work also focuses on proving educational support to Syrian children who many times have missed months of schooling due to displacement and have been exposed to extreme trauma. Relief International has opened a remedial education center in the Zaatari refugee camp and is assisting Syrian children in Karak, Jordan so they can enroll in school and catch up to their peers.
A large part of Relief International’s work with Syrian refugees involves assisting Syrian families and their host communities. Over 70 percent of the 1 million plus refugees to date reside in vulnerable places outside of refugee camps. Many of these families seek refuge in abandoned building, tents, and other vulnerable places.
Our WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) Program Manager, Deepa Patel, recently shared a heartfelt story of how her team came to the aid of a little Syrian girl. Deepa’s story touches upon the immense sense of community, support and trust built between Syrian families and the Relief International team.
Here’s her story:
Since January, Relief International’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) team has been working with host communities in North Jordan where nearly no other organization has yet been able to assist. The perseverance of the WASH team to reach the most vulnerable Syrian refugees has meant driving to remote areas, walking far on foot to access households and spending long hours in cold, rough conditions.
One such area is a small rural town, Al Kom al Ahmar, 25 kilometers outside of Mafraq, where many Syrian refugee families are living in abysmal conditions as a means to earn a living by working on farms. Many of the refugee families living in this area escaped Syria over six months ago but where afraid to enter the Za’atari refugee camp and knew of no other way to care for their family except to find whatever work possible. Relief International has been assisting families in this area, providing winter clothing for children, essential hygiene items, health education, child-friendly interactions and general social support.
Today, during a routine house-to-house follow up visit, a mother, Mumtaz,* alerted the Relief International team that her two-year-old daughter had fallen into a ditch in the farm where they are living. Two days had passed and the child was in extreme pain, restless and had a high fever. The family is not registered with UNHCR and they were afraid they would be turned away if they went for treatment at a hospital. All of that is beside the point. Living in such a rural area, they have almost no means of getting to a hospital.
The Relief International team has always said that they are hygiene promoters but that they also visit the families to provide comfort and support in any way they can. Upon seeing the child and hearing Mumtaz’s concerns, the hygiene promoters who visited her, Dina and Akhram, drove Mumtaz and the child to a hospital in Mafraq. It turned out that the child had a broken arm and an upper respiratory infection and was able to receive excellent treatment.
Though we are a small team with limited funding and our ability to aid in the face of such a large crisis can sometimes feel overwhelming, I am proud that the Relief International team goes above and beyond any duty to assist in any way possible. We are more than just a WASH team!
*Name has been changed.
Everyday, thousands of Syrians, a vast majority of whom are mothers and children, are forced to flee their homes. The need for humanitarian assistance is growing. Join the effort with Relief International, together we can reach more families in dire need.
RI staff & the little girl on the road to recovery