Zakat Foundation Ships Winter Wear to Syrian Refugees
Bridgeview, IL, December 7—More than 8,000 lbs. of winter relief from Zakat Foundation of America donors set sail yesterday, 6 December, for Syria’s weather-exposed and war-weary refugee population, as temperatures have already dropped along the Mediterranean into the 50s and further inland to as low as 35.
“We don’t only aid crises when they are making headlines as a media sensation,” says Amal Ali, Outreach Director at the Zakat Foundation. “When the world moves on and forgets, Zakat Foundation stays there, relieving the most affected people and rebuilding their lives.”
Winter blankets and clothing can make the difference between sickness and health for Syria’s millions of war victims. People may not realize that Syria, a country bordering the Mediterranean, can get quite cold, with dramatic drops in nighttime temperatures. It gets even colder in Gaziantep, where many of the refugees now live.
A Volunteer’s Warmth Reaches Syria
Zakat Foundation’s Covering Syria Winter Campaign – Winter Wear to Syrian Refugees started as the dream of a lone volunteer, Ezza Pedra Alfrhan, who used her social media skills to mobilize the massive collection of winter covers and garments.
“The thing I wanted most from this work was feeling I could draw a smile on the face of a Syrian refugee child, or elderly man or woman,” says Alfrhan about what prompted her to initiate the new blanket and clothing drive through the Zakat Foundation.
“When I felt my own children safe and comforted in warmth, I wanted through this work to help send some of that warmth to these refugees.”
Alfrhan’s hope is scheduled to start materializing on January 3rd. That’s the estimated arrival date for the charitable winter container of 20 pallets of brand new blankets and 175 boxes of new clothing, and for its distribution to refugee children, women, men, and the elderly to begin.
“This winter relief shipment is a small part of the continuous program we offer the Syrian people, particularly its refugees and displaced,” says Ali. “Most of our programs provide more than immediate aid, securing long-term development and hope for the future of Syrians.”
Growing Refugee Infrastructure in Gaziantep
The Covering Syria Winter Campaign augments Zakat Foundation’s Muhammad Ali Safehouse shelter in Gaziantep for more than 200 Syrian refugee widows and orphans. Named after the iconic American Muslim boxer, it houses 44 families in separate, fully furnished apartments.
Zakat Foundation’s other Syrian refugee programs include Zahra University for refugee student higher education, vocational training for widows in need of income-producing skills, and free health clinics, including Sigharuna Kibaruna (Our Little Ones Are Our Venerable Ones), which treats Syrian refugee children who have mental and developmental delays.
The Covering Syria Winter Campaign (Winter Wear to Syrian Refugees) is vital because Syria’s energy resources are sketchy after so much fighting and massive destruction of infrastructure, which remains ongoing. The same fragmentation holds for availability of good nutrition, clean water, and healthcare access. This makes for an environment where sickness is never far from the Syrian people, especially in the colder months.