For the last couple of months I have been thinking of our fast changing political climate and how it is effecting our refugee population. This is a time that they are being threatened and ostracized, we need to remember that these are regular people like you and me
The work that SCM was doing in Greece and now in Jordan and also in Washington State touches the lives of thousands of refugees from Syria. Most of our activities bring the youths together in safe places for art, sports, learning and also those struggling with trauma and its psychological effects on them.
When I go and visit the refugees here in Washington State , they have an apartment and they get donated furnisher and other items, but they make sure to tell me that this is not them- They had a house and nice furshnier and a business that was theirs or maybe they worked for someone but they had a good life. They did not want to come to the US, but they had no choice- they wanted a better life for their children. But now with the changes in the US policy a lot of these people are losing hope. Even for those that have not applied for resettlement and are living outside of Syria in the camps in Jordan, Greece, Lebanon, they have been deeply affected. They are trying to save money to file for resettlement, to move to a normal place and have normal lives for themselves and their children.
Now Syrian refugees are not allowed to come to the US. For most of these refugees in need, hope in America has vanished. In Jordan and in Lebanon the refugees managed to escape the bombs and constant warfare, but here they do not even have the bare minimum they need to live a dignified life. Some are still living in tents and many of them lack electricity and running water. Over half the children are not going to school, since they need to help the family so they are working in the streets at a very early age. They are living on the margin and little chance of getting anywhere in life.
We at SCM are trying very hard to help in these situations and with your donations we are able to do this. The refugees that we deal with are resilient and hardworking they are trying to make it in this world. The ones that get to the US are learning English- adults and children, the adults are going back to school and learning new careers, the women are using their skills teaching, or cooking and selling their products. We have empowerment projects in Jordan in teaching women to sew and then giving them a sewing machine and helping them sell their wares in the market place. We transport bikes to Jordan to give to the men so they are able to commute to a job that they might fine.
We need to remember that each refugee was and is still an individual and they had their dreams and their hopes for themselves and their children. Remember that these people all had normal lives- do not view them as a group and as people that will hurt or harm you- these are people that got into this situation by no fault of their own.
We need to not forget that these are families in need . The ones overseas might not be able to make it to the US, but all people need to be treated with dignity and we should not forget that
We need to keep giving them hope and we can only do this by helping them as much as we can to stand on their own feet. So please do help us and make a contribution to SCM and our programs for refugees.
Rita Zawaideh, President & CEO of SCM