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June 20, 2020

How affected are Syrian refugee children?

Many Syrian children have never known a time without war. For millions of them, the conflict has stolen their childhood and affected their long-term physical and mental health as well as their prospects for the future. Many children caught up in this crisis have lost family members and friends to the violence, suffered physical and psychological trauma, and had to leave school.

Here are some specific ways the Syrian war is affecting children:

  • Diseases and malnutrition: Children are susceptible to ailments brought on by poor sanitation, including diarrheal diseases. They may miss vaccinations and regular health checkups, especially in cut-off areas. In poor housing, cold weather increases the risk of pneumonia and other respiratory infections.
  • Child labor and child soldiers: Many refugee children have to work to support their families. Often they work in dangerous or demeaning circumstances for little pay. Some are forcibly recruited children who serve as fighters, human shields, and in support roles.
  • Lack of education opportunities: About 40% of Syrian refugee children are out of school. In Syria, the war reversed two decades of educational progress. One-third of schools are not having classes because they have been damaged, destroyed, or occupied by military groups or displaced people.

If you could see through a Syrian refugee child’s eyes, what would life look like? For them, kite flying keeps aloft memories of family, friends, and their once-promising future. The children salvage remnants of their war-shattered lives, even if it’s just with a dirty plastic bag that can barely stand up to the breeze.

SEMA US makes sure refugee communities and their hosts have access to healthcare and proper nutrition. We provide help for the psychological wounds they have suffered, and we reduce the risks of being abused, neglected, and exploited. We can help people live healthy lives, even while they wait for an opportunity to return home.

You can, too.

Learn more: www.sema-us.org

May 29, 2020

Unbounded Compassion: Inside SEMA’s COVID-19 Response

SEMA medical teams have joined the fight against COVID-19 as the new coronavirus disease spreads to more than 200 countries.

It’s been incredible to see people working around the clock, trying to adapt, trying to learn, trying to collaborate to save as many lives as possible, all while working in the face of so much death.

Healthy Staff

A part of our job is providing support to the medical staff inside the hospitals. We’re doing everything we can to keep the doctors and nurses healthy because if they fall ill, there will be nobody to treat patients.

Proper Disinfection

We have a lot of experience with infection prevention and control from the epidemics we face across the world, so we’re helping to create pathways and processes within the hospitals to ensure that staff are protected from infection and that people who aren’t infected don’t become infected. 

SEMA Education

We’re all on a steep learning curve with this disease. We have different medical experts working side by side, and learning from the hospital doctors who were involved in the response from the beginning. The doctors and nurses here have been trained, they are at the forefront of the pandemic and have developed a clinical capacity that is extremely valuable.

Limitless Work

We opened 2 new hospitals specifically for COVID-19 patients With 100 admission beds and 20 ICU beds .

Outside the hospitals, we’re doing outreach work within the population, working with social workers, general practitioners and family doctors to help treat people in their homes and in facilities for the elderly.

As all hospitals are reaching their capacity, there is no choice but to treat some patients with less severe symptoms at home. 

Making Impact

In a crisis like this where needs are overwhelming, impactful choices have to be made. We at SEMA  know this very well from the critical situations we face around the world. 

We will continue to provide support here for as long as we’re needed. We are also preparing to intervene in other refugee camps and regions, including those where the epidemic is just starting and where prevention measures can have a big impact.

Syrian refugees are just some of the communities we cannot afford to let down. For them, COVID-19 is yet another assault on their survival. We hope this pandemic not only teaches us to wash our hands but makes us stand together to help establish accessible and better-equipped healthcare for all. 

May 8, 2020

Togetherness in Isolation: Helping Syrian Refugees This Ramadan

While self-isolating for the safety of our community and loved ones this Ramadan, many people will be apart from their friends and family. But for millions of refugees and displaced people, this is a reality they already know too well, having fled their homes to find safety in camps, settlements and in urban centres in unfamiliar towns and countries.

As the novel Coronavirus disease continues to wreak havoc in the most developed countries, Syria stands on the cliff. Hundreds of thousands of families in Syria are displaced due to bombings. Many families are stuck in the circle of poverty, some are living well below the poverty line as they have lost everything they owned.  They live in the same tents, they eat the same refugee diet and face the same challenges every day. Any pandemic of such nature will have incomprehensible consequences on human life, and if you have it difficult, they find it a hundred times more.

The Syrian crisis has torched the global refugee situation. One of the biggest challenges faced by these refugees is acceptance. By spreading knowledge about their plight and telling their struggle stories to the world, we can help them in being accepted by the global community. We need the world to see a Syrian man, not as a potential threat, but as the father who lost his little daughter to war. As the man who watched his home get destroyed by the bombing. As the husband who is desperately looking for ways to protect his family from harm and starvation. 

Ramadan is all about being generous and compassionate for humanity. The resilience of refugees inspires us and reminds us that all the actions we take, big or small, can have an impact. If you are privileged enough to enjoy delicious food during Suhoor and Iftaar, you cannot forget those who struggle to find food and shelter for their families. If you’re not, generating awareness regarding help for Syria would be the least you can do. Just a little bit of empathy can make the world a better place for all.

THIS RAMADAN, GIVE FROM WHAT YOU LOVE TO THE PEOPLE OF SYRIA. Their only hope is your compassion.

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