When Sarah fled Syria with her family, she had no idea that two and a half years after she left Homs, she would be living in Jordan, struggling to survive and provide for her family.
“Syria was not secure,” Sarah said, referring to the civil war that has raged for more than five years. “Because of the war, my family decided to leave. There was no work. There were bombs falling where we lived.” Sarah’s family fled from Homs to Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, just 12 kilometers (about seven and a half miles) across the border.
Life continued for Sarah in Jordan. She married a fellow Syrian refugee, moving to the city of Mafraq to live with him. They now have a daughter who is almost two years old. The day Sarah attended a health awareness session offered by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), a partner of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), she was eight-months pregnant with her second child.
As a woman of reproductive age, Sarah was invited to attend an IOCC workshop on infant and young-child feeding (IYCF) in Mafraq. The sessions were held in community centers in Amman, Irbid, Mafraq, and Zarqa governorates. More than 3,000 people—both Syrian refugees and Jordanians—attended the workshops, which, in addition to IYCF, covered non-communicable diseases and other health-related topics.
Sarah attended an IYCF session near where she lives in Mafraq. In it, health educators provided information on early breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding, and the introduction of complementary feeding for infants and small children.
“I learned new things that I didn’t know before,” Sarah said. During the session, she and the other participants also received health kits, which were part of a shipment of more than 23,500 UMCOR relief-supply kits, including health kits, school kits, and layette kits.
With one child, a second baby on the way, and limited opportunities for income, Sarah appreciated the kit very much. The towel and items inside are greatly needed but are not things Sarah is able to typically buy for her family.
When talking about her children’s future, Sarah said, “While I don’t know what their future will look like, I will take care of them.” And, thanks to funding from the ACT Alliance and health kits from UMCOR, Sarah left IOCC’s IYCF session better equipped to take care of her children thanks to both her new knowledge and the hygiene supplies she received.
Learn how you and your congregation can help assemble UMCOR relief-supply kits here. Also, your gift to UMCOR Material Resources, Advance #901440, helps UMCOR purchase materials needed to keep its warehouses stocked with these priceless relief supplies.
*This story was reported by UMCOR partner International Orthodox Christian Charities.