Today a storm is whipping through Za’atri camp. I can’t imagine how cold it is there, as my hands are freezing while I type this blog and I am in a luxurious house, not a tent. With no trees, no permanent structures in sight, the only thing the refugees have for comfort is each other. Picture thousands of brown tents one after another, in perfectly straight lines, uniformity at its finest. It gives off an allusion to the eye that those inside the tents are merely setting up camp, as if they will leave soon; such as with a camping trip. But as I have grown to understand the Syria conflict and the refugees’ struggles, I have come to grip with the fact that this refugee crisis is far from over.
When camping, my grandma always taught to me leave the campground better than I found it. But in all honesty, I don’t know when or if these refugees will ever be able to do so. But since they have invited me into their camp with great hospitality every single day I visit them, I feel as though I have become part of their camp. Thus, I bear some responsibility to leave camp a bit nicer than I found it.
As winter starts, the refugees have told me their biggest need in the camp is more permanent housing, such as caravans. They really don’t stand a chance this winter in these tents (a hundred tents were blown away a couple weeks ago in a mini storm and one child lost his life as a result). So, to make their voices heard we must help them with their biggest need.
I cannot do this task alone. I will need your help in making sure we leave the camp better than we found it. A team of journalists and I have teamed up to create a campaign to raise money to provide vulnerable refugees caravans rather than tents for the winter. Several doctors in the camp expressed their grave concern that if we don’t get refugees out of the flimsy tents soon, we will have to witness tragic deaths that could be avoided with better housing.
I will keep you posted once our campaign to fundraise for caravans is launched; we are aiming for just before Thanksgiving.