Two years ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer with a refugee relief organization in Turkey. During that trip, a fellow volunteer observed that witnessing the refugee crisis also comes with a responsibility to respond. The comment was casually made, but it strongly resonated with me as a call to action.
This April, I have the opportunity to volunteer in Lebanon, a tiny country with the largest number of refugees per capita in the world. Led by the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), I will be joining a team of physicians, nurses, physical therapists, social workers, mental health therapists and interpreters in order to respond to both the physical and mental health needs of displaced children and adults. We will spend a week, April 14-21, working with individuals in two refugee camps in Bekaa valley, providing medically necessary treatments as well as supporting individual’s social and mental well-being.
The trauma that has resulted from the war in Syria has been so extensive that it has led mental health experts to coin a new phrase, "human devastation syndrome". With that in mind, and in order to best serve the individuals we will meet and the work already being done in Lebanon, our SAMS mental health team is currently connecting with psychosocial organizations and experts in the country to develop the most appropriate and ethical strategy.
And you can help! Would you consider donating to this trip? I’m raising funds to help cover the costs of the flight to Lebanon and travel while in-country as well as to donate towards the cost of medical supplies and medications needed by the team.
I'm thrilled to have this opportunity and can’t wait to share more about the impact of this trip!
- The Syrian American Medical Society is a US-based, non-political, non-religious, medical relief organization that provides millions of Syrians with urgent and life-saving medical services. SAMS Foundation is a U.S. registered 501 (c) (3) charity and all donations are tax-deductible.
- Love these photos? Me too! These are the work of the talented Christian Agha, taken while visiting a refugee camp in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. You can check out more of his work here .