Faces of the Syrian Crisis: Young Family Finds Haven in Lebanon

Syria10for260x190“It’s a boy! Mom Ghaussaoun and dad Omar are pleased to announce the birth of their son Riyad, born in a hospital in Bekaa Valley on June 25th at 4:09 a.m. He weighs 8 pounds and 8 ounces.”

We have all received a joyful announcement like this from our friends or family. Ghassaoun and Omar’s news is different because AVSI volunteers delivered it to hundreds of Syrian families who are now this husband and wife’s ‘neighbors’ in a crowded tent camp in Lebanon. For them, water and resources are scarce, and what was once part of ordinary, daily life is now dramatic.

Ghaussaoun and Omar fled their home in Idlib, Syria, after a car bomb destroyed their house last spring. When the young couple learned that they were expecting their first child, they fled Syria to join their cousins who were already living in Lebanon. Now they live in a tent just across the border in southern Lebanon, 250 miles from their hometown and all that was familiar.

Syria-Ghassaoun-mom190x260Like many refugees fleeing the confusion and division of the Syrian conflict, Ghaussaoun and Omar were afraid to register as asylum seekers, fearing that a new political regime would later use the information against them. They were therefore ineligible to receive any health assistance through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As Ghaussaoun’s due date approached, it seemed she would have to deliver outside of hospital care.

Luckily, they met volunteers from AVSI in the tent settlement where they made their home in Bekaa Valley. Thanks to a flexible fund of private donations from around the world, AVSI was able to cover the cost for hospitalization, and reassured the couple that all information submitted to UNHCR remains strictly confidential.

Ghassaoun herself tells us, “Thanks to the AVSI social workers, who visit us twice a week and support us, I am starting to think that asking for help might be good. My husband is only able to find work three days a week as a farmer and we have no more savings”.

Currently, there are over 600,000 Syrians just like Ghassaoun and Omar living in Lebanon, who need water, food, education for their children and a face that reminds them to hope for the future.

Learn how to partner with AVSI-USA to make sure not one of them is abandoned!

Join AVSI in #10forSyria