Syrian Refugees with Spinal Cord Injury
Today I visited ‘Souriyat across Borders’, an amazing centre for the most vulnerable Syrian refugees. It combines rehabilitation for refugees, with education and a temporary home. It currently houses 19 Syrian refugees and has approximately 5 outpatients visiting 3 times a week. Of the ‘inpatients’ 10 have spinal cord injury, 3 have head injuries, 2 are amputees and 4 have orthopaedic problems from injuries that affect their ability to walk. The centre has capacity to house 30 but since the Jordanian border to Syria closed in June less have come. Since then they’ve increased their focus on education and are able to house people for longer anywhere from 3 to 18 months. On average most stay a year. They want to be ready for when they hope the border reopens. Many other Syrian refugees come to make the most of the language courses that they offer together with The British Council in English, French and German.
The centre provide prosthetics, organise hospital visits and surgeries. They offer computer classes, soap making classes and knitting and sewing workshops for women to sell products in local bazaars. They also offer training to fix mobile phones leading to work opportunities.
‘Souriyat across borders’was set up by five Syrian women and has survived so far on their fundraising efforts mainly from friends and relatives. They live month to month and are working on getting officially registered so that they can apply for funding from bigger organizations like The Red Cross and UNICEF. Together with Handicap International these organizations refer people to them but can’t offer them any funding as they are not officially registered in Jordan. This could take 6 months and as the workers, beneficiaries and founders are all Syrian it’s not straightforward. Until then they need all the help they can get to keep offering these refugees a home.
The people I spoke to said that what they like best about the centre was that it was like a family. The love and care from these amazing workers was tangible. Now the border is closed most of their remaining families can no longer visit from Syria. The centre offers peer support, psychological support and focuses on motivating the individuals to not just accept their loss, but to also remember their dreams and become independent again to fulfil them. The children attend special needs and regular schools in the day. They all eat together, play, learn and rehabilitate together. It was moving to witness. If you’d like to support this amazing organization you can donate on their website www.souriyat-across-borders.org or on their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/souriyat.across.borders/