Tales of woe and magic as Hillcrest staff member returns from Syrian refugee aid trip
Amera Sajid, the Gowrie Care money support worker who recently travelled to Lebanon to help Syrian refugees, has returned bringing with her stories and experiences - both heart-wrenching as well as warming.
Amera returned from the Middle-Eastern country on January 29 following time in refugee camps in Beirut and the Beqaa valley, a refuge centre for women and children, as well as an orphanage.
The aid trip saw Amera on the front line assisting people and distributing aid packages to refugees - many of whose lives had been traumatically shattered by the horrors of war. The aid parcels delivered included basic items such as fuel, blankets, food, toiletries and clothing.
Since the war started in Syria, its neighbouring country Lebanon has experienced an overflow of more than 1.1 million refugees. This massive number doesn’t include the estimated 700,000 unregistered refugees, and the fact that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stopped registering refugees in January 2015.
Speaking about the trip, Amera said: “It was a roller coaster of emotions seeing these vulnerable refugees in person. I experienced tears of sadness, tears of joys, heart-breaking moments and also smiles all round. The trip reminded me of just how lucky we are and how much help is still needed to support these people.
“To see the suffering of humans who are no different to us was quite unbelievable. The group was also in tears seeing the endless struggles of the Syrian refugees for basic needs of life. When someone breaks down and tells you they have no way of buying medicine for their child, who as a result will soon die really hits hard.”
Amera added: “I also saw queues for basic food items, homemade houses built in dumps, sewage pipes running through rooms, rats everywhere and numbers of people living in one room. Children were forced to rummage through bins for food, and many daughters also have to offer ‘sexual services’ as some widowed mothers cannot afford to pay debts that they owe. The reality of the life that these people are living through no fault of their own, left us distraught and frustrated.
“However, there were happy moments too that really stood out. We distributed toys and sweets to the children and the sheer happiness in their eyes at being gifted such basic treats was magical.
“Amongst the array of emotions, the feeling of knowing that we were able to help some of these families gave me a satisfaction I just cannot describe. It was a week of non-stop activity which I’m so grateful to have been a part of.”
Donations are still being welcomed on Amera’s fundraising page, which will go directly to supporting the refugees.