I don’t cry very often. I easily get moved, passionate and angry over unjust things happening in the world, but there are very few things that make me cry.
On New Year’s Eve, a woman who had fled the Syrian war gave birth to triplets at a refugee camp in Lebanon. She died instantly after the babies had been delivered. Now, her widower and old mother-in-law are living in a refugee camp and, despite their terrible circumstances, doing their very best to take care of these children. When I saw the interview with the widower, tears wouldn’t stop running down my cheeks.
He was in love, but the conflict had forced him and his wife to leave their whole life behind them and flee. He was in love, but knowing that the conflict wasn’t ending anytime soon, he and his wife were terrified wondering how they were going to raise their children in a refugee camp and still provide them with the tools necessary to prepare them for the future. He was in love, but the lack of medical resources killed the love of his life, his best friend, the mother of his newborn children.
He was in love, but only a week after his wife died his primary concern was how to cope and protect his children from the upcoming snowstorm. A couple of weeks ago I read that the same snowstorm he was worrying about had already killed six children. That was only three days after the interview with him as published.
I cry, because I know that this story isn’t unique.
I cry, because these children are a lost generation. Some of them have witnessed terribly traumatizing events that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Some dying in a war none of us can control, some dying of a cold we all have the power to protect them from. Too many of them being deprived of education that will ensure both themselves and Syria a worthy future.
I cry, because we are turning a blind eye to what has been considered the worst humanitarian crisis of modern times. Sitting here writing this, I wipe away my tears, realizing that the time has come for us to open our eyes and react.
On Monday the 9th of February, we will launch “The Tent Project”. It is a competition where all classes at this school are going to compete to raise the most amount of money to refugees who have been deprived of the simple means to live. There are 3.8 million Syrian refugees in Syria’s neighboring countries alone. 50% of them are children. UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, simply does not have the resources necessary to provide tents, education and food for all of them. What they need is resources/funds, and that is exactly what we are going to give them.
For one week, every student, teacher and staff at this school is going to join us in raising money. The goal is for every class to raise 3, 000 kr, each which will be enough for one winter-ready tent for one family and provide education for three children. That is 100 kr per person.
I have great hopes for this school. We have won Läroverksfejden several times and when one section of our school was in danger of being relocated, we did not give up until the very end. That shows signs of dedication, commitment and cooperation. The time has come for us to use these skills when the world needs it the most. To use these skills when they actually can save lives. Because our tears will not help these children, our willpower will.
The time has come for us to do our part in saving the lost children of Syria.