As the conflict in Syria rages on, the past three years of violence has led to nearly 9.3 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance — almost half of Syria’s population — 46% of whom are children. More than 8 million Syrians are now displaced, including about 2.3 million refugees and more than 1 million children who are at risk of malnourishment, abuse and exploitation.
Poor and deteriorating living conditions have inevitably had negative impacts on food security, with reports of starvation surfacing. According to one Reuters report, a Syrian state security official said: “We like to call it our Starvation until Submission campaign.”
The current severe winter months are further exacerbating an already dire situation, where there is already a shortage of adequate shelter and household items.
There is one young mother who will climb a mountain, literally, to try and help alleviate some of the suffering of these children. Ayat El-Dewary, an external relations associate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Abu Dhabi office, will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa this February to raise money for Syrian refugee children.
Her climb is in support of The Big Heart Campaign for Syrian Refugee Children, which was established by Sharjah’s Shaikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, a UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.
On her fundraising page, El-Dewary says that although training for this climb “is both mentally and physically grueling,” it does not compare to what children in Syria endure. She hopes that her journey will shed light on the deplorable situation for Syrian refugees and to make a difference “to the victims who have been most affected by this brutal conflict.”
The money she raises through her campaign will be used to provide a variety of supplies that will help the children face the cold winter months, including synthetic mats, high thermal fleece blankets, and pre-fabricated housing units to shelter from the elements.
Through her efforts, El-Dewary hopes to inspire others to do what they can to make a positive impact on the lives of those suffering around the world, and to create a sustainable movement that will last beyond her climb.
– Rifk Ebeid