Help a Family Survive the War
Organized by: SteggsHeather Hufstedler
UPDATE: Brothers reunited
September 05, 2016
EVENT DATE Feb 15, 2016
I know that many of us have things that we support with our money, so I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and consider assisting some really beautiful people that I care about very much. Many people, including myself, have asked how to best support people in Syria during the war because it is difficult to get money over the borders without knowing someone in Syria.
Now you have the OPPORTUNITY to help our brothers and sisters in Syria.
My friends Omar and Waseem are both barely 20 years old and just arrived in Germany a few months ago. That means that they've been living in the middle of a war for 1/4 of their lives. Living several miles away from each other in Damascus, they both lost many friends and family members to bombs, missiles, and Assad's prison over the last few years. In response, their parents borrowed money from many friends in order to send their oldest sons across the border so that they could survive. They left their parents, younger siblings, and their fiancées behind to save enough money to bring them to Germany. They each traveled alone to Europe, and they met in a hostel in Germany last Fall.
THE TREK to Germany is an exhausting one and it's expensive. It now costs approximately $2500 to pay for safe passage from Turkey to Greece. They traveled through several countries over the course of 30 days to finally arrive in Germany. These countries are often hostile towards asylum seekers. There is often no running water, no public toilets, and the police are known to be extremely aggressive with them. Like many Syrians, Omar was taken to jail in every country on his way to Germany. His joke that he loves to tell: Hungary's jail is worse than Bashar Al-Assad's jail. They are in Germany now. And they attempt to save any money that they get from their social assistance to send back to their families.
NOW, several months later, they have allowed me the great blessing of spending time with them. They are kind and gentle, strong and open with their pain.
We just had dinner together last night-- they prepared some Syrian-style chicken and rice and then we played Trix, their favorite card game. Then came the daily phone call from their family. Internet is a bit shoddy outside of Damascus but the viber video chat was clear enough, at times, to get in a good wave and smiles. "Qifik, mama," I said to Omar's mother. "Temam," her reply. She uses the German that Omar has taught her over the last few months and asks me, "Wie geht's dir?" She is a sweet woman and she and Omar laugh hysterically every day about the little things. At some point in every conversation she tells him that HE CAN'T WORRY ABOUT THEM; if it's her time to leave this earth, she will be happy that she had him and his three little brothers, and happy that he is in Germany. He tells her to shut up and says that she's being an asshole. They exchange e-kisses and then the phone gets passed to every family member in the room with her. After the phone call, Omar tears up. Waseem and Omar and Mervan talk about Syria, we look at photos of their times before the war, videos of what is happening now. They cry, hug and kiss each other, and then start cracking jokes and laughing again.
Surviving in a "safe zone" can be very expensive. Commerce isn't really working the way it was before, making it utterly impossible to earn enough money to pay for necessities. Babies are constantly crying for milk; rice costs up to $100 per bag; because there's virtually no electricity, everyone wants candles- driving up the price until they're virtually impossible to come by; and buying portable propane heaters is very expensive. However, leaving this situation and coming to Europe is more expensive in the short-run. It means having up-front cash for passports (for which Assad is charging more than ever), the trek and the boat from Turkey to Greece. The cost for one person to travel from Syria to Germany is now approximately $3000.
YOU CAN BE THE SOLUTION:
You can give a gift that will be sincerely appreciated. You can make a difference in their health, their security, and their ability to travel outside of Syria and away from the violence. Please make the decision today to make a huge difference in their lives. You may feel the financial pinch for a few weeks, but they will be incredibly grateful for years to come.
Remember please that many of us have, or have family members that have, at some point in time, escaped a war somewhere. And we relied heavily on the assistance of people who did not know us. If you want to help Omar and Waseem's families and fiancees, I would be forever grateful to you, friends.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
SYMBOLIC DONATIONS for your gifts:
$5,000 New passport and travel expenses contribution
$2,500 for the 2.5million Syrians in Turkey
$1,300 One month of gas and food for the family
$940 for the 9,400 children that died last year from aerial attacks
$500 to buy a refill gas canister
$230 for the $2,300 the family must pay for a boat from Turkey to Greece
*** If you donate over $230 or more, you will receive a gift from Germany.
$100 for rice and other basics
$66 for the 6.6million people still inside Syria
$30 for candles
The minimum goal: $2,600
To raise enough money to buy their families food and gas for one month, approximately $1,300 for each of them. Omar saved this over the last few months, leading me to believe that we can do this in one month.
The dream goal: $12,000
To raise enough money to help at least four family members travel to Europe
Sincere Thanks and Much Love from freezing Germany.
The notes that you leave with your donations will be printed out and given to Omar and Waseem with the money <3 Thanks for your support.