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Supporting Syria’s refugee women and children

March 2014

As the conflict in Syria enters its fourth year, more than 8.5 million people have been displaced from their homes; almost 2.5 million of whom are now refugees.

Many are women and children, like Nadima and her five children, who have made the dangerous and gruelling journey overland in search of sanctuary.

Nadima with her sister Rokaya and three of her children

Nadima, with her sister, Rokaya and three of her children in the place they now call 'home'; a cold, bleak garage in Lebanon.

Cold and broken down

Nadima and her children left Damascus to escape heavy shelling near their home. Like so many refugees, Nadima was forced to leave only with what she could carry.

Now living in Lebanon in what was a garage, she and her family have just one bag of clothes between them. They are dressed for summer; yet it is winter in Lebanon.

Nadima and her family have been supported by our partner, Association Najdeh, who has helped her family and others like them, with food vouchers and cooking utensils.

  • When the explosion happened next to our home, the children had a breakdown. They were afraid,’

Child trauma

‘When the explosion happened next to our home, the children had a breakdown. They were afraid,’ Nadima said.

Her children have taken part in therapeutic activities organised by Association Najdeh to try to help children who have witnessed the violence in Syria.

Struggling to cope

Nadima’s husband is still in Syria and so she is caring for her children with her sister, Rokaya. When they first arrived in Lebanon, they suffered a lot; unable to find a place of safety.

Their new 'home', a garage, offers little protection from the bitter winter wind that has swept across the Middle East in recent months.

Nadima doesn’t know how she will pay the rent each month and she has been unable to afford the transport costs to be able to send her children to school.

She is reliant on practical, as well as emotional, support from Association Najdeh, and on the £20 per week that one of her sons makes from working in a local butcher’s.

Support in tough times

Amina Besher, from Association Najdeh, explains the importance of their counselling programme: ‘We are talking about a population that has been displaced from their country; children and mothers who have faced horrors in Syria and who are now living in miserable conditions in poverty.

‘They need a lot of psychological support. They are going through a very tough period in their lives and we are trying to help them to relieve their suffering.’

Distributing cash vouchers for food and health kits, and providing access to counselling for women and children traumatised by the violence, our partner is helping to provide support to some of the most vulnerable refugee communities struggling to cope.

Pray for refugee women

You can help by praying for Nadima and her family, by praying for all refugee women struggling to support their families in the worst situations, and praying for our emergency response work.

You can also donate to the Syria Crisis Appeal to help refugee women find the strength to carry on.

Photo credit: Christian Aid / Natalie Naccache

Nadima with two of her children; Mariam, 4, and Falestine, 11


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