Comforting a Grieving Nation

From the desk of Mike Parks, GHNI’s Director of Disaster Relief

Syrian women have grieved often for the sons and husbands who have been killed in the fighting or executed by forces on either side of the conflict. These women weep not only for their lost sons, but they weep for themselves and their daughters, too.

They fled in search of safety and shelter, but now they find themselves exposed to exploitation. This happens in dusty refugee camps in Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon or overcrowded apartments in cities where the numbers of refugees grows every day.

Lawlessness in the camps and the vulnerability of women who have no protection or personal resources makes them prey for hunters who kidnap girls. They are ravaged and sometimes sold as child brides to men from the surrounding regions.

A woman from a refugee camp in Jordan expressed her fear:

“I wasn’t afraid. I was terrified. I lived a terrified life in the tent. I didn’t sleep until dawn. Everyone slept except me. They kidnapped lots of girls and they made them work as prostitutes. Three girls in our camp were kidnapped. They raped them and then they brought them back to the camp. Men come to harass Syrian girls as young as the age of six or seven. They want to kidnap them and take them outside the camp. Even the little child.”

GHNI is helping bring protection to many vulnerable women through providing basic life essentials such as food and personal hygiene products as well as longer-term help through Transformational Community Development (TCD) and Slavery Prevention lessons.