USA for UNHCR donors save lives and give hope to millions of refugees around the world
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season quickly approaching, USA for UNHCR wants to pause to thank the compassionate supporters who stand with refugees every day of the year. Through their generosity, donors do more than provide food, shelter and protection. They offer hope. They remind our world’s most vulnerable people that they have not been forgotten.
During this winter season, the help and hope that donors provide are especially needed as more than 11.8 million Syrians and 3.9 million Iraqis who fled violence and persecution brace for the cold. Many live in makeshift shelters that risk flooding, leaks and collapse from rain and heavy snow. Unprotected refugees risk frostbite, pneumonia — even death. But thanks to USA for UNHCR donor support, the UN Refugee Agency is on the ground helping women, men and children stay warm and safe this winter.
Here are a few of their stories.
Naima and Saad: No escaping the cold after fleeing violence
Like millions of their fellow Iraqis, Naima, Saad and their three young children faced escalating violence at home. Two of their family members were killed in a landmine explosion. Saad suffered hearing loss.
Naima and Saad knew the only way to save their children was to flee, so they made a perilous journey on foot through the Hamreen mountains — eventually reaching safety in the Al Alam camp in Tikrit. Now they are protected from harm, and with donor support, have received blankets, kitchen items, mattresses, hygiene kits and a heating stove to help them this winter.
Wardah: Searching for safety and warmth
Wardah and her family lived in fear of airstrikes in Syria until they fled their home. When they arrived at the Azraq refugee camp, they had little more than a change of clothes after their long journey. Though the threat of airstrikes was gone, Wardah faced a new obstacle — keeping her family warm during the harsh Jordanian winter.
Thanks to USA for UNHCR donors, Wardah’s family received the assistance they needed to get through the winter months. They received warm clothes, a heater, mattresses and insulation for their new shelter. USA for UNHCR donors gave Wardah’s family comfort and hope when they needed it most.
In spite of everything that has happened, Wardah remains optimistic about the future. She wants her children to go to school and she hopes to one day return home.
Samira and Khalid: Seeking shelter
Soon after they were married in Syria, newlyweds Samira and Khalid’s home was struck by a missile, and they fled for their lives.
“When your house collapses, you can’t think of collecting any items before you leave, you just run away,” Khalid says.
The couple and other family members escaped to Lebanon and took shelter in a windowless, unheated building with no sanitation facilities.
“When your house collapses, you can’t think of collecting any items before you leave, you just run away.”
Thanks to USA for UNHCR donor support, the UN Refugee Agency installed windows, insulation and plumbing to create a safe environment for the family, including Samira and Khalid’s six-month-old niece Mona.
Khaled and Najat: Struggling to keep their little ones warm
Fearing their family’s safety, husband and wife Khaled and Najat and their five children fled Homs, Syria in 2012 for Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. As they ran for their lives, there was no time to pack anything, including winter shoes and clothing. Although they are grateful to Lebanon for welcoming them, the winters are difficult — especially for the children, including the youngest, three-year-old Yehya.
“If they’re warm and they go outside to shower or to use the restroom, they come back and they’re already sick,” Khaled explained.
The family receives cash assistance from UNHCR to help them pay for heating fuel as well as a kit to weatherproof their shelter.
Here’s how you can help …
As you reflect during this season of gratitude, consider helping refugees as they brace for another brutal winter. The most efficient and cost-effective way you can save them is by becoming a monthly donor. Your steady support will keep our world’s most vulnerable people warm during these crucial winter months — and every day of the year. Please make your gift today.