A delegation from the South African branch of the Al-Imdaad Foundation have jetted back into the country after a humanitarian mission to the Turkish /Syrian border during earlier this month. The group visited the region as part of a campaign aimed at assisting young Syrian orphans affected by a nearly five-year civil war south of the border.
Statistics put the number of Syrian orphans in Turkey at close to 600 000, 40 000 of which receive assistance and aid from Al-Imdaad’s Turkish partner, the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation. The two organisations have collaborated on a number of projects, including the establishment and running of orphanages aimed solely at Syrian refugees.
“We interacted a lot with the Syrian orphans in the border towns and really it was a heart-warming experience. When you interact with the orphans, all they want is love. When you pick up the one, the next orphan is tugging at your heels saying me next,” explained al-Imdaad media officer, Hamza Badroodien, who recounted his experiences to VOC’s Drivetime.
The organisation is currently sponsoring two orphanages in towns close to the border with Syria. In the town of Reyhanli it runs a unique facility that affords the remaining members of the child’s family, be it a sibling or surviving parent, to stay with the orphan.
“In that way it kind of helps to maintain family relationships that remain, which is a beautiful concept,” Badroodien stated.
The organisation has another orphanage in the region which caters to the needs of children who have suffered some form of psychological trauma. Many Syrian orphans have had to witness family members being tortured and killed during the conflict.
Al-Imdaad and IHH have also recently embarked on a project entitled ‘Tiny Hearts Orphan Village’, which will aim to see the establishment of a large scale village compromising 31 villas, which will seek to house 1500 orphans.
To cater to the educational needs of the orphans, special schools have also been set up in each of the towns where the orphanages are situated.
“They attend the schools in shifts. In the morning some will attend school and in the afternoon another group will attend. In addition to the schooling they receive, the orphanages themselves have on sight trainers, teachers and psychologists who all help the children,” Badroodien added.
For more information on the Al-Imdaad Foundation’s work on the Turkish/Syrian border, visit http://www.alimdaad.com/. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)