A new tent thanks to efficient teamwork

A report of our coordinator Steffi Gentner

2013/07/29

Until recently, Steffi Gentner has been working as a coordinator in the east of Lebanon where she organized medical aid for Syrian refugees on behalf of humedica. In the second part of her story, she tells us about a family who had been hit by fate very hard.

“I want to tell you a story that happened to me and my team and which shows us how important it is to have a good network, which enables partnership for the purpose of humanitarian aid:

Elham, a Palestinian woman married to a Syrian man, pregnant of 8 months and mother of two boys, was visiting our mobile hospital, when her home – a quite old tent – caught fire.

The fire could rapidly be extinguished, but the family’s home had been badly damaged. The despair could clearly be seen in the mother’s face, despite her big effort to retain her composure.

After speaking to the family, we asserted that we would do our best to help them find a new roof over their heads. At the same time, we advised them that we couldn’t promise anything and that they would certainly be obliged to find shelter in neighbors’ tents for some nights.

Two reasons made us react cautiously: First, we had to find out an organization which was responsible for the supply of the so-called Tent-Kits, that is to say temporary tent dwellings.

Second, the fire broke out shortly before the weekend – a fact that leads to delays in a system that had actually been created for emergency situations and not for a conflict, which has lasted more than 2 years up to now.

By approaching different organizations, it shortly became evident that there were only two of them, MEDAIR and Save the children which came into consideration.

Already existing contacts with MEDAIR informed us that Save the children was, in this case, the right organization and they offered to establish the contact. In order to get things moving, we visited the organization personally the next day.

As they had already been informed of the incident, the responsible colleague of Save the children promised to come with us and inspect the situation on-site. He explained us that, at the moment, Tent –Kits were given only exceptionally to refugees who have stayed in Lebanon for a longer time already, because, due to little resources, the available stock was allocated to newcomers from Syria exclusively.

After having collectively expected the place where the fire broke out and talked to the family concerned, our colleague of Save the children got in touch with his superior.

Some days later, we received the happy news that the family could count on a replacement for their burnt home. A week later, we met a smiling Elham who showed us her new home, visibly relieved.

We certainly can’t and mustn’t talk of a miracle here; Elham’s family wouldn’t have had to wait a whole week in a functioning system neither.

Moreover, their new home, as well as the other refugees’ temporary accommodations, are not at all suitable for winter and there is an urgent need for additional measures. But despite all that, the positive aspect remains: Within the scope of our possibilities, we were able, in this case, to reach our aim thanks to cooperative partnership!”

Dear friends and sponsors, please continue your support of our aid measures in eastern Lebanon with a concrete donation and renew the confidence of those people, who got into misery innocently, to get out of their seemingly hopeless situation. Thank you very much!

      humedica e. V.
      Reference “Syrian Refugees”
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

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