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Solving the Syrian Refugee Crisis - A Success Story

We met the Taha Family in February 2016 while doing a “Coloring the World” wall mural project in one of the many Syrian schools in our city. Two of their daughters were attending the school and they came to watch the artists paint. The artists painted educational themes as well as a reminder to wash hands outside the school’s restrooms. ( Coloring the World Wall Mural Project: http://hsbgi.com/en/projects/11/coloring-the-world )

The principal mentioned there were over 50 children in the school who were Syrian orphans, including the Taha girls, who were greatly in need of help. We arranged a food and clothing distribution over Ramadan and met many of the Syrian widows and orphans from the nearby slum, including the Taha girls.

We longed to do more for these warm and friendly refugees, and wished we could give them more than just food boxes and clothing. Our unspoken prayer was soon answered in September of 2016 when Shaz and Ahmad arrived from the UK with funds they had collected for the refugees. We were able to assist more than 25 families with aid for the upcoming winter and move several families from their hovels in the slums into decent apartments.

One such Family was the Taha family. The husband had died, like so many other men, in the civil war. The mother was living in a one room brick abode, built on the top of a two-story apartment building in a backstreet district, along with her aging mother and four children. It was unbearably hot for months. The kitchen and primitive bathroom were outside the room. The living conditions were unbearable; to make matters worse, their landlord did not allow them to have visitors and our visit caused quite a ruckus.

Shaz and Ahmad immediately pledged to move them out and within a month, we found a new three-bedroom apartment for them for only 1000 Euro a year. Hope was born.

After they settled in their new flat, Mrs. Taha shared a heartbreaking story with us, illustrating the psychological trauma these refugees go through. With tears in her eyes, she apologized for thinking ill of us. We were quite surprised, but she went on to explain that on the first night in their new apartment the youngest daughter did not climb into bed with her, as she had all her life. She was born after the start of the fighting, and war and insecurity were all her youngest daughter had known in her life.

The mother awoke frightened, without her daughter at her side, and figured we had come in the night and stolen the little girl. She feared that our kindness was just a pretense in order to kidnap their youngest daughter. As a refugee, she had been so mistreated and abused, she just couldn’t believe that someone would help her with pure sincerity, not with an ulterior motive. So many people take advantage of the refugees, there are stories of children being kidnapped and dismembered for body parts. Tragic.

Since then the family has adopted us, and last winter when Talal was ill, the mother had her son walk over 15 kilometers round trip to bring him some Syrian food. We are literally family now.

But the story does not end here. Mrs. Taha mentioned to us that it is difficult for her to work downtown in a sweatshop sewing all day, while her kids are often home alone.

In September 2017, Bilal arrived from the UK and when he learned of their situation he purchased her an industrial sewing machine so she can start doing things at home and teach her two young daughters how to sew.

Mrs. Taha needs a second sewing machine to fully support her family while working at home. If you would like to contribute to a second sewing machine for Mrs. Taha, please contact us. We do appreciate your help towards this need.

There are many other families in similar situations who would like to take further steps towards self-sufficiency. If you can make it to Turkey and want to help, we can introduce you to refugee families so you can directly donate to Syrian refugees in need.

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