Neediest cases NYT

On the Surface and Underneath, a Syrian Boy Carries the Scars of War

GHazze, Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Sariya El-Suleiman was a year old when a rocket hit his family’s home outside Damascus.  He and his family fled the outskirts of Damascus three years after they were under siege for a year with no access to food. During the siege, a bomb fell on the family’s home, burying Sariya in the rubble. He suffered from malnutrition since the family could only eat cooked grass since no food was allowed to enter the village. Despite all of this, Sariya is a cheery and active child who enjoys going to school and is always the first one to arrive to class. He’s extremely attentive and is adored by his teachers. He is much smaller than the other children because of his health, but that doesn’t deter him from playing with the other children or participating in class. Iman has taken Sariya to free clinics in Beirut, but doctors were unable to determine what kind of skin condition he has. The family is unable to afford visits to specialist or medication to help Sariya cope with the redness and irritation.

He is a  bright and clever students at an IRC-run classroom for elementary aged children in the Bekka where he learns basic Arabic, English, math and essential social and emotional skills.

They Lost Their Country. Then a Fire Robbed Them of Even More.

Halba, Northern Lebanon

Sitting in an unfurnished room with her three-year-old daughter on her lap, Fatima shows scarring on the girl’s fingers where she suffered from burns after a fire broke out in the family’s home in Halba, northern Lebanon.  Refugees from Syria, Fatima and her husband Amir recall the terrifying day when the blaze engulfed their house, destroying the few belongings the family owned.  “We watched as it all burned away,”Amir, 29 says. He and his family fled the city of Homs five years ago. “We had to start over after leaving Syria; and now we have to start over again.” The family received some financial assistance from friends and a local charity to help repair the house, but they did not have enough funds to treat their daughter Haneen’s wounds or replace what they lost in the fire. The family borrowed additional money from another man who began to verbally abuse Amir and Fatima on a daily basis, demanding payment and threatening to force the family from their home.  The emotional abuse took a heavy toll on Fatima – she had a miscarriage with her first child.The International Rescue Committee provided the family with $500 in emergency cash to pay off their debt. 

With the past behind them, the family is excited to travel to Europe where they have been approved for resettlement after a year’s worth of interviews and background checks with British officials. For them, it’s the new start they have been yearning for.

A Displaced Syrian Woman Realizes a Dream by Aiding Refugees

Bar Elias, Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Ms. Mazloum, a 40-year-old Syrian mother of five daughters, wrestled with societal expectations her entire life, and after she divorced her husband she was left on her own to raise their girls in a deeply patriarchal environment. A few years into Syria’s civil war, she escaped with her girls to Lebanon, settling in a new land and finding an opportunity to become a leader in a way she had always envisioned for herself since she was a child. She joined as a volunteer at the Bar Elias community center here for female refugees, one of several similar centers run by the International Rescue Committee, the worldwide aid group based in New York. In the Middle East, the group helps Syrian refugees and vulnerable groups across the region and has been operating in Lebanon since 2012 with 420 people on its staff and 250 volunteers.

The civil war in Syria has forced millions of people from their homes and decimated towns. Nearly five million Syrians have registered as refugees, and most of them have fled to neighboring countries, according to the United Nations. Over one million refugees have ended up in Lebanon.

ABOUT The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund

Established in 1911 by Adolph S. Ochs, publisher of The New York Times, the Neediest Cases Fund has raised over $294 million since its inception.

The 106th annual campaign of The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund runs from Oct 15, 2017, to January 2018.  Each profile tells a story of those who benefited or may benefit from the fund, and how even a modest amount can make a difference.

Each profile tells a story of those who benefited or may benefit from the fund, and how even a modest amount can make a difference.