What We Can Do To Help Syria

Every morning begins with the same ritual for me – squinting with one eye at my phone as I go through the motions of checking my Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Usually, getting up and ready for the day is mechanical – a pattern of groaning and near tears that come with getting up at 6 A.M. for class or work. This morning, however, was entirely different. Looking through the statuses, images and videos of the latest heartbreaking news coming from inside Aleppo, I felt my own problems and thoughts of finals, coffee and sleep-deprivation melt away.

Honestly, I felt like the most privileged, self-absorbed and ignorant person in the world. How did so much happen, how did so many lives end or completely alter in the hours that I spent sleeping in the comfort of my own warm bed? Why do I get to have these comforts while people are being stripped of everything  as the world silently watches?

Everyone seemed to welcome acceptance without a glance or care of the genocide being committed on the other side of the world.

Just like as in the day following the presidential elections, I felt as though I was floating and struggling to even stumble along in the world as it continued to spin. Everyone seemed to welcome acceptance without a glance or care of the genocide being committed on the other side of the world. The final tweets and videos of the brave civilians of Aleppo went unnoticed by too many people. I was shaken. I was distraught. I was heartbroken and helpless. Looking around at the people unaware and unconcerned around me, I searched for an answer – why is no one doing anything?

Then, I remembered a hadith about the state of the Ummah.

Thawdan (RAT) narrated, “Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, said, ‘Imminently, there will come a time when the nations gather against you, just as people gather around a feast.’ A man said, ‘Will it be because we are few at that time, O Allah’s Messenger?’ He responded, ‘No, you will be numerous in those times, but you will be as useless as the scum of the sea.” [Ahmad, Abu Dawud]

Looking around at the people unaware and unconcerned around me, I searched for an answer – why is no one doing anything?

In this hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says that the state of the Ummah will be disunity. We will no longer feel an obligation to help our brothers and sisters, and we will no longer be strong enough to fight against the oppression we see in nations across the world. In this hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) describes a state of the world and ummah that we see too clearly today. The atrocities happening in Aleppo are the responsibility of those committing these crimes, but is it not our obligation to fight for them too?

In this helpless time where we search for an idea of how to help or make a difference, and while we may not be able to physically help, there is still much we can do. Here is a list of verified organizations that you can donate your time, clothing and money to:

1. Humans4Humanity
Run by Dearborn native Neda Kadri, this non-profit organization is operated by independent volunteers who can be found in refugee camps translating, serving food, distributing clothing and dragging boats of refugees onto the shores of Greece.
Donate to Humans4Humanity here.

2.The White Helmets.
Also known as the Syria Civil Defense, this organization is a volunteer-based organization that works on the ground in Syria to rescue civilians from bombs, chemical attacks and sniper fire. Donating to this organization helps pay for the medical assistance of civilians and volunteers who may be injured due to the intense warfare.
Donate to The While Helmets here.

3. Doctors Without Borders
The number of people left in Aleppo is declining and there are few doctors available to provide necessary care to the injured. This organization supports and runs over 150 medical facilities in northern Syria and provides the opportunity for doctors and medical professional to come and help.
Donate to Doctors Without Borders here.

4. Karam Foundation
A non-profit organization, this foundation allows you to help Syrians who have either left or stayed. If you want to help the Syrians who have stayed, you can donate for emergency relief for the schools in the region and if you choose to help the Syrians who have left, you can sponsor a refugee child.
Want to donate? You can here.

5. Sunrise USA
One of the leading NGOs in the U.S. providing aid to Syrians in Syria and neighboring countries, this organization focuses on child development, education and healthcare needs.
You can donate at online at Sunrise USA.

6. Syrian American Medical Society
This non-profit organization focuses on providing medical and humanitarian relief on the frontlines of Syria and neighboring countries. It works to provide and support doctors and other healthcare professionals serving the population of Syria.
Donate to the Syrian American Medical Society here.

7. Hand in Hand for Syria
This organization works to distribute aid alongside UN OCHA, supplies and supports several medical facilities in Syria, has opened six hospitals across Syria and delivers supplies including food boxes to 10,000 people each month.
You can donate, volunteer your time and support their various events here.

As we continue to live in our own worlds, it is important that we too raise our voices and let people know the stories of the brave men, women and children of Aleppo. There is always something we can do.