Your Generosity is Making a Difference for Syrian Refugees

As you know, I had the opportunity to return to the Syrian refugee camp in Adana, Turkey to help distribute the blankets folks so generously donated in December last year. As part of the trip we met with the Governor of the Adana Province, Mayor of Adana, local relief organizations and camp administrators to get an update on what is occurring in the region, city and camp. I was honored to be joined by Loudoun Board Chairman Scott York, NVRC Executive Director Mark Gibb and Mustafa Akpinar who is a Director on the Board of the American Turkish Friendship Association.

All were appreciative of your generosity and support of these folks in need. I was honored to accept on behalf of all of you an award from the NGO we partnered with in recognition of our collective efforts.

In the Camp

This little girl was born in the
camp in Adana
The camp is still running at full capacity with 12,000 refugees living in 2100 tents. Last year, 617 children were born in the camp. The clinic on site had 130,000 visits with more serious health cases being handled at the local hospital. There are 4174 students in the camp being taught by 130 teachers from Syria who are refugees themselves.

Children are given the opportunity to engage in activities within the camp to help them deal with the daily stress and boredom of being in the camp itself. Older students and adults are given classes in a number of areas to help them earn money for themselves. The Turkish government, Red Crescent, and other relief organizations have done an outstanding job in helping those in the camps.

In the Street

While there are some 200,000 people in 23 camps in Turkey there are an estimated 800,000 who are not. It is also estimated that 30 to 40% of them are children. Many are living in makeshift housing and/or apartments with multiple families living in crowded conditions.

These children do not live in the camp,
but their needs are just as great if not
While in Adana we had the chance to help distribute blankets donated by the local business community to these families as in many cases they have greater needs than those who are living in the camp. With so many of these families with small children it was heartbreaking to see the conditions in which they live. 

For these folks the children are not in school and have limited access to education and health services. Many fear there will be a lost generation of children. Organizations such as Embrace Relief and Kimse Yok Mu are working hard in the street to address these many needs.

What These Families Want

Quite simply they want to return to their homes and the lives they led prior to the civil war being waged in their country. While at the Adana camp I had a conversation with Mohammed who was educated at Damascus University and an English teacher at home. He has lost friends to the violence. He urgently wants to return to his profession, but is literally trapped by the violence at home.

What's Next?

We will continue to work with our friends at the American Turkish Friendship Association to monitor this situation. In the end, I would ask for your prayers for the refugees and all those providing relief. I hope the world community can come to a positive conclusion that will allow these families and the many others disbursed throughout the region to be able to return home and live in peace.

I was pleased to be able to
present the scarves to my
Lastly, I want to once again say thank you to all for their generosity and support. Many of the blankets we received were hand made. I was able as part of this trip to reconnect with the Policeman who was forced to leave his hometown of Homs. I was able to provide him scarves for his wife and daughters that were handmade by a colleague at work. They were gratefully accepted.

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