What got us here? Why is the situation so dire right now to make a mother choose between staying in their home in Syria and taking her children on a potentially deadly boat ride to escape? The simple answer is that the potentially lethal boat is safer than staying in Syria.
With the incredibly violent fighting spreading across the country 11 million people (more than half the population of Syria) have either been killed or forced to flee their homes. Approximately 5 million have fled to neighboring countries like Turkey and Jordan, approximately 500,000 have died and the rest are displaced within the country. For perspective 11 million is the entire population of Belgium or the US state of Ohio. This is the worst Refugee Crisis situation since World War II. Yes, it is that big of a deal.
Refugee camps are bursting at the seams, and yet every day see more people coming in looking for safety. Children have been removed from schools for sometimes years at a time. Fathers and mothers have no work opportunities to support their families and must rely on goodwill handouts and patched together government and UN aid. Among refugees trying to integrate themselves into their host countries, language barriers and legal permission to work has stalled progress.
We like to think this kind of thing won’t happen to /us/, so are able to turn a blind eye to the facts in front of our face. Yet it’s very real and visceral for those experiencing it. Image you were unable to go home, unable to work, unable to take care of your family, living in overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions, experiencing constant threats to your safety and well being, and perhaps the worst, your children are suffering through the life altering extremely stressful situations alongside you.
The Syrians didn’t ask for this. They were doctors, lawyers, taxi drivers, teachers, entrepreneurs, moms and dads going about their daily lives. Trying to bring their children up right. Provide them a better life. Doing the best with the lot they were handed in life. And now their lives and dreams are crumbling around them due to situations far outside their control.
We can help in real and tangible ways. You can make the difference.
Donate to the UN Refugee Agency. Donate to Save the Children. Donate to the European Red Cross. Donate to the White Helmets. Donate to Médecins Sans Frontières.