Numb. Siba’s gloveless fingers no longer feel the cold that bites at her hands and feet. But there is no relief, as she’s only half-finished emptying the freezing water that invades her tent. Siba is only 10 years old.
She dreams of being a lawyer one day but instead of holding a pencil, her fingers are plunged into ice-cold water and snow every morning and night as she tries to keep her family’s makeshift shelter in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley dry. Winter is the most dangerous time of year for refugees like Siba.
But compassionate donors step forward every day to remind Siba she is not alone. They share their warmth with her until her fingers tingle with renewed life. Until her heart glows with renewed hope.
All over the world, refugees are bracing for winter. Days are short, nights are long and warmth is hard to come by.
Last year, generous donors provided the gift of warmth with more than 3 million blankets and helped 160,000 Syrian families make ends meet with emergency cash assistance. This year, just as temperatures begin to plummet, donors have opened their hearts to help support more than 60,000 forcibly displaced families in Afghanistan with emergency winter cash assistance.
To Siba, and to refugees like her, warmth means many different things. It means a cozy blanket on a cold day. Warmth means having enough money to pay for all of your winter needs and some extra to provide some festive joy during the shorter winter days. Warmth can also mean the gentle glow in your heart that comes from being welcomed by people who love and care about you.
“It felt like a holiday,” says Huda of the winter cash assistance she received because of donor support.
Winter is difficult for Huda and her five children, Syrian refugees living in Jordan. She relies on UNHCR to make ends meet, and the high costs that come during the winter months make it especially difficult. Her husband was killed in Syria, and on top of caring for her five children, she also supports her elderly father.
“There has been hardly a day in the last year when one of us has not cried,” she says. “Life has become very difficult.”
But then donor support came through, and Huda’s soul was infused with the warm feeling of joy that the winter holidays bring. She now has enough for all of the winter essentials, gas for heat and warm clothes for her children, and she also has a sense of safety that her family is cared for. And that’s the greatest gift of all.
How you can help…
Winter is the most dangerous season for refugees like Siba and Huda. It is the season when precious dreams are most at risk. Thankfully, with the help of caring Americans like you, Siba and Huda can keep their hope for a bright future alive. Give the gift of warmth and hope this winter by becoming USA for UNHCR’s newest monthly donor.