By Dr. Farah Akram.
Aleppo, Syria. The bustling city that has now been reduced to rubble is filled with deafening airstrikes and disrupting gunfire. Shouts of civilians and rescue workers are also common as they work together to find the living amidst the debris of fallen buildings and provide them with emergency medical care. However one sound is surprisingly missing in this chaos. The sound of crying children. The children of Aleppo, many who have been born during this war and lived this war for every single day have stopped crying.
A young brother and sister, were brought to the last hospital in Aleppo to search for their mother, who was missing after their home had been hit by a bomb. They roamed room to room with the nurse, dazed and silent until finally they slumped on a blood-stained hospital bed waiting for news of their status as orphans. We have seen many footages of young children sitting in ambulances covered in dust and blood and NOT MAKING A SOUND.
More than 400,000 lives have been lost in Aleppo, many of them children. The children of Syria have seen more death, up close and personal, than we can imagine. I wonder what their parents must tell them about war, about love, about helping others, about humanity, especially when the world seems content on watching from the sidelines.
This silence of children continues into the refugee camps. Many of the children evacuated from Aleppo are orphans with an uncertain future. Many are injured and need rehabilitation. And they all need love, hope and laughter to recover from the horrors of this war.
We may have been unable to stop this war. We may not be able to physically present at refugee camps to help the diseased, the injured, the old, the young. But we can still play a little role and hope that would have a positive effect for someone
Prayer is a force like no other. Pray for the children of Syria, for the people of Syria. Pray that this war ends, pray that people are safely evacuated, pray that they find a refuge. Pray, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity. Pray because you are human and they are human too.
There are so many supplies required at the refugee camps. Clothes, blankets, medicines, food, water, to name just a few. Please find an organisation you trust and donate. Even refugee families that have been relocated to different countries still suffer from shortage of supplies. They are trying to build their lives again from nothing. Some links I have seen for donations are below. Please do add more trustworthy links, if you know any.
According to UNICEF, 5.6 million children have been displaced from their homes and need help.
Families lack even the basic supplies, like toiletries and clothes.
The World Food Programme is the largest aid agency providing food in conflict zones like Syria and run entirely on volunteers and donations.
Photo: WFP/Hani Al-Homsh.
Almost all bakeries inside eastern Aleppo have been destroyed due to constant bombardment and airstrikes. Since 28 November, WFP has provided 44,000 bread bundles to displaced families now sheltering in Al-Mahalej, Jibreen and Hanano.
Islamic Relief and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have many staff members and volunteers working within and outside Syria to help families with basic necessities and medical aid. Many healthcare providers have been killed, yet they have not lost their zeal to help.
As I said, these are just a few links but they are doing worthwhile work and we should support them to the best of our capabilities. Please donate. Your one donation could give someone hope that the world does care about Syria. Just a box of blocks or a pack of colours can shine a light of hope into the heart of an affected child.
- Spread the word
Journalists and activists in Syria have said that news about Aleppo is not reaching the proper audience. Please spread the word, talk about Aleppo, share the links for donations, encourage others to pray and to do the right thing as a human.
Let us all pray for Syria and make meaningful contributions as displaced Syrians starts to rebuild their lives. Let us work together to bring back laughter and joy for the children. May Allah guide us to all that is right and good. Ameen.
Dr Farah Akram. May Allah guide us to all that is good and right. Ameen.