I’m a Syrian women’s rights activist and I want to tell you about the town of Daraya.
Every minute, every hour, the 8,500 people trapped in the town are inching closer to starvation. We need food and medicine to reach them before the unthinkable happens.
We are asking for aid to be sent to the town immediately, and if it can’t be driven there, then it must be airdropped from the sky.
The people with the power to do this are your politicians. They won’t listen to us, but you have influence over them. Please sign an urgent petition to the UK parliament now:
I know what it’s like to experience hunger.
I lived under siege in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus for two and a half years. Still, compared to Daraya now, our situation was a blessing. We were able to grow some vegetables to survive. We would grind animal feed and mix it with water to make ‘bread’.
But in Daraya they don’t have anything.
I last spoke to people in Daraya two days ago to see what their needs were. The men listed the usual items like protein-rich food, and medicine and vaccines.
But the needs of the women were very specific and detailed.
Their daily struggles are different. They don’t have sanitary pads. They use cloths instead but then there’s no clean water to sanitise the cloths afterwards. They need lice shampoo and soap. They need milk and milk bottles to be sent in for their babies.They can’t breastfeed because they’re malnourished.
I’m seven months pregnant now and I think about the women and kids in Daraya constantly.
The woman who runs our network’s centre in Daraya has had two miscarriages during the siege due to malnutrition and lack of medical care. One was at three months and the other one was at six months.
We can do something. I don’t want us a few weeks from now to be crying over images of people who have starved to death and say “I wish we had done something before”. The time is now. Please sign a petition to the UK parliament to airdrop food into Daraya today:
Women Now for Development “SFD” (known previously as Soriyat For Development) is a Syrian non-profit organization dedicated to deepening and strengthening women’s role in Syrian and host communities by enhancing their political, social, economic and cultural participation.
Read a letter to the world from Daraya's women here: https://diary.thesyriacampaign.org/an-urgent-call-from-the-women-of-the-besieged-town-of-daraya/
Dear Members and Supporters,
We are very pleased that Hannah Picking from the Refugee Council is now in post and will be managing the Syrian VPR scheme across 8 of the 9 districts participating. HWSF are looking forward to supporting her now that the families are beginning to arrive. Two more caseworkers are due to start shortly so there will be a team of three to cover Hertfordshire.
We met with Hannah and clarified what the Refugee Council will need and how HWSF can support their work. Key needs that are emerging are ESOL support (particularly while families await more formal programmes) and employment support.
HWSF is therefore running a one day course in 'Befriending with Language Support' for those wishing to work with families in this capacity. You do not have to be a language teacher or ESOL specialist, though you would be very welcome if you do already have relevant experience. We have 30 places available and would like to get a spread of people from across the county.
The course will take place on Saturday 30th April at the Vineyard Church, Brick Knoll Park, St Albans, AL1 5UG from 10.00 to 16.00. We are grateful to Vineyard Church for donating their premises for the day. There is plenty of parking available. We may ask for a contribution towards printing costs.
To reserve your place, please email Irene Austin on email@example.com by Friday 15th April. We will then send you more information about the course and will ask you to provide some information about yourselves to help us plan the day. Judy Kirsh will be delivering the course with support from Irene Austin.
The Refugee Council will be responsible for managing volunteers, including arranging DBS checks in all areas apart from Dacorum. If you have expressed an interest in volunteering to support Syrian families, or would like to do so, please could you complete their form found on our website. The HWSF volunteer forms have helped us build a picture of offers of support across the county, but you will now need to complete the Refugee Council's form. If you have any questions please email contact Catherine.
Please could you also let us know if you submit a volunteer application, saying where you're based, so we can keep track of volunteers and arrange meetings in different parts of the county. Many thanks.
The Refugee Council is looking for two volunteers to help at interviews for an admin and housing support officer, one for the morning and one for the afternoon. The interviews will take place on 22nd April in Stevenage. Please contact Hannah Picking on firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
The Refugee Council is also recruiting sessional Arabic interpreters. This is a paid job: they are looking for Hertfordshire-based people as they are currently dependent on interpreters having to travel from London. Please contact Hannah Picking on Hannah.email@example.com or 07342990032 if you can help.
We will be contacting you again soon with plans for local meetings and fundraising suggestions, but thought this was quite enough to put in our April email!
With grateful thanks for your continuing support,
The HWSF Committee
The Syrian VPR scheme will be managed across Hertfordshire by the Refugee Council, which will therefore be responsible for managing volunteers, including arranging DBS checks. If you have expressed an interest in volunteering to support Syrian families, or would like to do so, please complete this form. The HWSF volunteer forms have helped us build a picture of offers of support across the county, but you will now need to complete the Refugee Council form. If you have any questions please contact Catherine. Please could you also let her know if you submit a volunteer application, saying where you're based, so we can keep track of volunteers and arrange meetings in different parts of the county. Many thanks.