Walking to The Children of Syria – يحيى حوى l لاجلك يا شام – Lajlek Ya Sham l Yahya Hawwa
Please watch.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0SBphaU6UU]
The nation’s first Arab sorority, the Empowered Arab Sisterhood at UCLA presents our second annual charity banquet co-hosted by our newly established brother fraternity, Brotherhood of Distinguished Arabs at UCLA. We will be raising funds to benefit the displaced Syrians of the Al Zaatari refugee camp – مخيم الزعتري with medical aid through the Salaam Cultural Museum. Al Zaatari is home to over 100,000 displaced syrian refugees and the numbers are growing each day. Help us exceed our goal of raising $10,000 to help support the Syrian refugees.
Please join us Saturday, April 26th for an unforgettable night of Arab culture through delicious (Free) food, a beautiful fashion show, mesmerizing musical performances, captivating traditional dances, spoken word performances, and a live raffle.
Doors open 6:30PM
Admission is FREE. Donations HIGHLY suggested.
DONATE ONLINE HERE: http://www.gofundme.com/rememberingtherefugees14
Space is limited so please be on time.
We look forward to seeing you all there!
Location: Ackerman Grand Ballroom at UCLA
UCLA Map: http://maps.ucla.edu/campus/
Please note that the lot that you used to park in, lot 6, no longer exists. Lot 4 is easiest to reach from Sunset Blvd. If you happen to accidentally exit on Wilshire East, make a left turn on Veteran, Turn right onto Sunset Blvd, Turn RIGHT onto Westwood Plaza. Continue straight down into parking lot 4 on Westwood Blvd until you reach the Parking information kiosk (left lane) here you’ll be able obtain a parking permit for the duration of your stay.
Get off the 405 Fwy at Wilshire Blvd,
go West three blocks to Westwood Blvd,
then North six blocks to the information kiosk (blue “i” on the map below) in the traffic island in the middle of the road. Buy a parking pass from the kiosk attendant, then the attendant will direct you to Lot 8 or Lot 9.
Ackerman Grand Ballroom
Los Angeles, California 90095
View Map · Get Directions
For further questions, email us at email@example.com or message us on facebook at www.facebook.com/empoweredarabsisterhooducla
Monday, March 24
Irbid Clinic, Jordan
By Rhenda Meiser and Hamid Alhiasat
Today we went to a clinic in Irbid, a city in northwestern Jordan close to Syria. We are on our third day of visits. Our medical team featured family doctors, dentists, OB-GYN, pediatrics, cardiology and eye care—plus a humanitarian team who played with the children and distributed clothing, diapers, formula, and toys. My job was to tell the stories of some of the Syrian refugees, so my colleague and interpreter Hamid went to the waiting room. The room was packed with women and children while the men waited outside. Families kept showing up, and the noise of the room rose steadily until we had to shout to hear each other.
We approached a middle-aged man who was very enthusiastic to tell America what he thought. He explained that he had four sons ages 12-20, the eldest in dental school. He was so proud of this fact. But after soldiers attacked his village and his house burned down, they had to flee. They crossed the border into Jordan by foot. Now here, Ahmed says life is very expensive and refugees are not permitted to work.
“America is the biggest, most powerful country and the U.S. can force the government to stop killing us,” said Ahmed.
What upsets him the most at this point is that his son had to stop training to become a dentist. He asks Americans to help his son continue his education.
I also spoke with a woman named Ghufran, sitting quietly with two little boys. She was expecting her fourth child in two months. Her hijab and gown were black; a turquoise headband framed her face. She gave me a warm smile when I looked over.
She had been very happy in Daraa, Syria. She worked for a pharmacy and her husband worked for the health ministry, leading a very comfortable life. They had just bought a new house and she was pregnant with her second son. In 2012, the Assad regime bombed her street to rubble and she moved to her mother’s home. After four months, her mothers’ street was also destroyed and she knew it was time to leave the country. At personal risk, her husband stayed behind to serve the people. He would secretly pack his car with medical supplies and distribute them to the town’s residents. Eventually soldiers started following him. If the soldiers found “even a syringe” in his car, he would face big problems. “Medical professionals are targeted in Syria, because they help people live,” Ghufran said.
After two years, Syria became too dangerous and he joined his family here. Since the bombings, Ghufran’s 5-year old son Mohammad wakes up with nightmares, afraid that soldiers will come to the house and hurt him. Loud noises also upset him. At the clinic that day, Ghufran met with the obstetrician and Mohammad got pediatric care. Our mission also includes psychiatrists.
“I had the house, the children, a good life,” said Ghufran.
“We call that the American dream,” I told her.
“It is the Syrian dream too,” she replied.
She asks for the U.S. government to create a no-fly zone over Syria.
(Out of modesty, Ghufran did not wish to have her picture taken, however these are her boys).
The last of my interviews was the most unnerving. As we talked with Ghufran, an intense young man came over and spoke to Hamid. He looked angry and tired with a taut intensity to him. He was extremely handsome—in America he could be a model for Ralph Lauren—but he was now toughened, lined, unsmiling. Tightly wound.
Gibran was 29 and a former law student from the village of As Suwayda, next to Da’raa. His family and village were Druze.
Gibran (who indeed comes from the Syrian region where the famous poet Khalil Gibran lived) was arrested three times and tortured. His story deserves more time so I will share it soon.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to have soldiers shoot at me, or bomb my house, or arrest my family member, but this is happening in Syria. It’s happening to decent people who love their families and want to be able to vote for their leader. At the very least, we can show we care by providing aid and health care, the opportunity to attend school, and jobs to keep them going until Syria stabilizes. If we do, they will remember that America helped.
SCM March Mission 2014 Report
1- Total patients seen at Medical Days: 3051 patients (medical days + Amman clinic + Alzaatari clinic). Patients received medical treatment as well as medications.
2- Dental Clinic: 318 patients ( patients received deep cleaning + extractions+ filling+ medications)
3- Ophthalmology clinic: 308 patients (patients in need received glasses)
4- Psych Team: 107 patients ( patients received treatment + medications)
5- Wound Care Team: 59 patients
Our March mission has finally ended to my regret but at the same time I need to go home and recoup from everything. This was one of the biggest groups of physicians, social workers, psychiatrists and humanitarians that we have had. We had a group of 42 people plus the volunteers and translators and doctors in Jordan that also joined the team.
They were a great group of people but I know that we want to keep the number from now on down to about half that size. It will be easier for the logistics and we will be able to move faster and get to the different sites faster and not worry about getting people onto vans and moving out of the hotel.
Each mission is harder than the last since we are seeing so many more people and seeing the increase of diseases. There has been a high increase in people suffering from PTSD, scabies, leishmaniasis, respiratory disease and so much more. At the Zaatari camp, we received a request that our psychiatrists come there due to the high rates of depression and suicide. We had 5 mental health specialists on this mission and they went regularly to Zaatari. Luckily, we also have a doctor in Amman who will follow up with these patients. On other days we split the team into clinics in different cities in Jordan.
Our translators would tell the stories of the families and the patients to the visiting doctors. Some of our doctors had to take time to talk to our own team of mental health specialists since this was their first mission and they were feeling overwhelmed by the horrors that these people had gone through. Even for me, I have been on 8 missions now, it is very hard. I believe I cried like I did on the very first mission when seeing and hearing the stories the refugees have to tell. But I did see some our patients that we had treated on previous missions, and saw how we had helped them, and that gave me a good feeling that we were making a difference.
On mother’s day in the Middle East (March 21) the kids at the Malki/SCM Children’s Center did a play and sang songs for their mothers. We did this again after the medical mission group of volunteers arrived in Jordan and took them to the Center.
To see these kids after a couple of months and how they have changed and the smiles on their faces and the laughter made most of the group cry. It is something that we hope that we can do more of. The Malki/SCM Center is a pilot project to provide services for the refugee children that we started and it is successful so far so we are hoping to be able to open another one in a different city in Jordan.
After a couple of hours in the Center the group split into vans and went to the different centers in Jordan that the Jordan Women’s Union has given us permission to use. We are partnering with them on these missions, and we hope to continue.
We spent the day in Deir Alaa which has a group of camps located on the way to Salt where there are about 100 to 200 people in each camp. They are Syrians that have come from different cities inside of Syria and did not want to stay in Zaateri. They are mostly from either Hama or Homs and wanted to be with their neighbors, friends, and family from the same place. They feel more secure that way, and don’t have to worry about the security of their wives, daughters or themselves. They decided that they wanted to take care of themselves and work the fields in this area. They were given tents from UNRWA and some vouchers to help with food, but it’s not much. We come to these camps each time we are in Jordan, but more seem to be springing up.
The group goes in about 4 vans and 7 people to a van- we set up in the tent, organizing a pharmacy, OBGYN area, family practice, dentist and a dermatological group. We then set up a humanitarian tent where we distribute the clothes, shoes, school supplies and games for the children. The humanitarians play games with the kids, sing songs, and dance if the mood strikes them. The group did a fabulous job with the children. But you could see the difference between these kids and the kids at the Malki/SCM Center. The children in Deir Alaa really needed clothes, shoes, and general medical care. They were so eager to play and talk to the doctors and others with us, and they wanted to share their stories through the translators. Each story was harder and harder to hear from these young people.
We hope that one day on these missions we can get social workers to come and talk to them and help them try and forget and look forward to a new life. They want to go home, but they do not see anything in the future that will allow them to do that. They hear from others of what is happening in the Zaateri Camp and how people are establishing themselves with stores, schools and it is looking more and more like an established city, becoming a permanent home, that it scares them and think that they might not go back to Syria.
For the last couple of missions we have had dentists come in with us and they are doing some incredible work in the strangest locations and making do with what they have. It takes then about 45 minutes to set up – they bring with them a generator, lawn chairs (for the patients to lay on) and their own supply of water and instruments. One of the first dentist with us on a mission was Hazar Jaber and her husband, she thought of the idea of a pressure cooker to sterilize the equipment and we have been using it ever since. The dentists provide normal care as well as extractions, cleaning and other preventive care. They have the humanitarians show the patients how to clean their teeth, brush them and floss. We have brushes for everyone and toothpaste etc that are left at the camp. This should last them until the next mission, we hope.
The dentists have never done anything like this but it is working out very well and it is fabulous to see them working. Other people on the mission that are nurses and other specialized physicians have jumped in and helped the dental team when it is needed and they are learning another dimension of the health care system. It is like one doctor said we go to medical school and we learn our trade, but we really do not know what someone else does in the medical field – here they are sharing their knowledge. I am so proud to have these professional join our group and know that they will go back to their own practices, communities, and families and tell them what it was like and what the Syrian people need, and what we need to help them.
~Rita Zawaideh, President of SCM