Change is possible for Syrian refugee families

In January of this year I had the privilege of visiting with forty-two year old former policeman Basel Al Ahmed from Daraa in Syria in his tent in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. I got to meet him, his wife and five children.

When we talked about conditions for them it was clear that the cold and lack of warm clothing and the tent made life very uncomfortable. Here’s the blog of that visit – https://clwr.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/sweaters-will-bring-some-extra-warmth-to-this-syrian-family/

Meeting with members of the Al Ahmed family, who are much more comfortable in a caravan  with a heater and warm blankets. CLWR/T.Brook

Meeting with members of the Al Ahmed family, who are much more comfortable in a caravan with a heater and warm blankets. They’ll also be receiving some Canadian sweaters soon. CLWR/T.Brook

This month, I had a unique opportunity to visit this family again. How things have changed. The worry that seemed to concern Basel’s wife was gone. She was open and cheerful and was very engaging. Basel was also a very happy man because his family was more secure and had a much-improved quality of life.

Canadian Olympic speed skater Cindy Klassen joined us on a visit to the Al Ahmed family. Here she is with two of the daughters. CLWR/T.Brook

Canadian Olympic speed skater Cindy Klassen joined us on a visit to the Al Ahmed family. Here she is with two of the daughters. CLWR/T.Brook

To begin with they had received a caravan (a semi-permanent shelter) that is warmer and has a locking door and a real floor rather than the dirt of their former tent. They have large quilts instead of the paper-thin blankets they once had, as well as a new heater and rugs from CLWR-supported programs through Lutheran World Federation. Best of all, they will also be receiving sweaters as a result of the CLWR sweater drive as distribution is in progress.

When we think of these kinds of conditions from our western context it is easy to think of them as hopeless, but for this family it is clear that lives can be changed especially thanks to the compassionate and generous hearts of Canadian Lutherans.

– Tom Brook, CLWR Community Relations Director

Canadian Lutherans have been supporting families like the Al Ahmed family with a gift to our Take Action appeal for Syrian refugees. Click here to learn how you can help bring health and warmth to Syrian families.

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