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GOTG reunites Syrian mother and child

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The Gift of the Givers managed to reunite a 9 year old Syrian child with her mother on Friday morning, after being apart for three years. The girl Sundus Ali Besheer was separated from her mother Khalide in February 2012 at the tender age of 6 years as a result of the Syrian war. The family endured three years of painful separation, as the child was kept in the care of an elderly grandfather after her father, a Palestinian, had passed on in 2007.

Sundus took refuge in the notorious Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Syria which was completely shut off by Assad’s regime. While her mother had travelled to Jordan and onwards to Turkey, she could not follow at a later date because her travel document was not recognized. Her mother tried relentlessly to be reunited with her child but to no avail.

Gift of the Givers stepped in when the NGO’s Turkey co-ordinator, Fekri Shaban, an ex-Al Jazeera bureau chief for Turkey, was on tour in South Africa with the head of Gift of the Givers Hospital in Darkoush, North Syria, Dr Ahmad Ghandour.

“It was 5 March and we were in Polokwane highlighting our activities in Syria. Immediately this news reached Fekri, he was overcome with emotion. How could a child be separated from her mother in this manner for such a long time. He started diplomatic efforts through many quarters, returned to Turkey and engaged the Turkish Government for assistance and intervention,” explained Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.

In the meantime, the humanitarian agency made arrangements for Sundus to travel from Damascus to Beirut. Her grandfather could not travel because of political obstruction. The child stayed with complete strangers in Beirut sobbing every day. Fekri sent a Turkish friend on standby to await the child.

The breakthrough came on Thursday afternoon when the Turkish government arranged a visa through their Embassy in Lebanon. Sundus flew at 3am on Friday morning accompanied by Mr Kemal and was reunited with her mother.

“We feel very emotional and very blessed today. At 5 am the atmosphere was charged with emotion, it was heart rendering and tear jerking when Sundus stepped off the Turkish Airlines plane, entered Istanbul Airport and was embraced by her mother for the first time in three years,” Dr Sooliman related.

Despite the horrors of the Syrian war and her displacement, the young girl is reportedly in a good state.

“She is very happy…you can see the relief on the child’s face and her mother’s face. Fekri called me today to say that ‘in all my life, I’ve never had a feeling like this before’,” added Dr Sooliman.

The cost of the entire exercise was covered by Gift of the Givers.

“A special thank you to Fekri Shaban who worked tirelessly since 5 March to achieve what is nothing short of a miracle. All Praise to the Almighty,” said Sooliman. VOC

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