Written by Alison Gareau, CARE International
My husband, our 20-month-old daughter and I were walking through a pitch black, cold, and dusty desert, escaping the sounds of violence and upheaval behind us.
We took turns carrying our daughter, who cried on and off during this journey as she was desperately wanting to run and play and in need of water, food, a bath, a warm bed and a fresh diaper. Unfortunately, we had none of these things as we fled with only a few belongings.
Eventually, we reached our destination; a place we felt safe. But it wasn’t a hotel or friend’s home. It wasn’t a warm bed or the comforting arms of our family. It was a tent, in a camp, surrounded by other families just like ours. I sat in this tent clutching my crying toddler, with my husband’s arms wrapped around me.
It was a relief when I woke up from this nightmare.
I had this dream during a recent visit to Jordan, home of hundreds of thousands of Syrian women, men and children fleeing the conflict occurring in their country.
For them, this is a nightmare that doesn’t end with the start of a new day.
Imagine for a moment if this was your reality. We sometimes take our day-to-day existence for granted – the mere act of eating breakfast together then heading to work, school, daycare, etc. We celebrate holidays, birthdays and anniversaries at restaurants and in each other’s homes. We go on vacations and visit friends and family throughout the country.
For many Syrian refugees, it was not that long ago they too enjoyed these everyday acts of life. It was not too long ago families would gather together in their communities at the end of a long day during Ramadan.
Alison Gareau plays with Syrian children during a visit to Jordan.
They aren’t so different from you or me, except the circumstances they find themselves in is a difficult and oftentimes desperate situation – the life of a refugee.
Sometimes, I must admit, I feel a sense of hopelessness and helplessness when I think about this.
But it’s not hopeless and we are not helpless.
In response to the conflict in Syria, CARE is providing life-saving assistance to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt and to people affected by the crisis in Syria. Our work includes supporting refugees and host families with cash to buy food, pay rent and bills, seek medical care and purchase household essentials. In addition, our programming also focuses on water and sanitation support and raising awareness among refugees of sexual exploitation and other forms of gender-based violence to protect them from abuse.
All of us have the ability to help by making a donation to support these families. You have the power to make the lives of these women and men, teenagers and toddlers, a little better.
After having met some of these individuals and families while I was in Jordan, and after having imagined myself in their shoes, I made the decision to give. I hope you will too.
Syria: CARE is supporting thousands of refugees who have fled the conflict in Syria.
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