By Dr Mohamed Ashmawey
A few years ago, on the border with Turkey, I met a Syrian woman who had lost everything. A bomb had fallen on her house, killing her husband and children. Her legs were completely burnt and she was in complete shock. What kind of condolences can you give someone in a situation like this? What kind of hope can we give to people in that situation?
It has been said that hope is the only thing stronger than fear. It’s not. It’s the other way around. When people reach a point where they don’t have any hope of a better life, fear conquers hope. Fear conquers hope when people decide to flee in the face of conflict, when they have no hope they leave behind homes, families and lives. Uncertain of what the future will bring but certain they cannot stay.
This month sees the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims all over the world remember those who are suffering and give to help some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Restoring hope to those who have none.
At Human Appeal, my dedicated and determined colleagues are restoring hope for millions of people around the world. Not just in Ramadan, but all year around we provide aid in humanitarian emergencies. Not only food, but shelter and emergency medical care, restoring hope at hopeless times.
However, emergency aid, vital though it is, is not enough to help people rebuild their lives.
After the initial shock, the immediate need for aid, people like the woman I met at the border need an environment which they feel confident they can return to. Where they know they will be safe, with access to education, medical care and social care. Without this, stuck in refugee camps with many family members disappeared, people cannot have hope.
We don’t want to return again and again to people falling back into poverty. At Human Appeal we want to ensure our development work is sustainable. Refugees want to return to Syria, people in rural Pakistan want access to clean water and girls in Sudan need education. We are working to make this a reality, to help people lead fulfilling and healthy lives. We want to make humanitarian organisations like ours obsolete.
In Islam, we say that if you save one life it is as though you have saved all humanity. Let us be the boat of hope and rescue for all people this Ramadan.
Let’s Be One.