Remembering Syrian refugees as the Ration Challenge 2022 kicks off

This week, which marks the launch of the Ration Challenge 2022, I am sharing Ashia’s story. Her words got me thinking about the significance of being remembered.

Words by Emma Brophy, Act for Peace team

Imagine you’re walking down the street and you bump into someone you met once, years ago.

They stop and smile when they see you, and say hello. They remember your name. They remember your story. They remember you.

How do you feel?

Ashia and her family live in Talbieh Camp in Jordan, after fleeing their home in Syria where it was no longer safe to live because of the war. Arthur Tainturier / Act for Peace

Ashia is a Syrian refugee and woman who lives in Talbieh Camp, a refugee camp located south of Amman, Jordan. She found herself there after fleeing the war in Syria, with her husband and their three children, Zareb, Ubayy and Hibah.

Fleeing her home – amid war and aerial bombings – was terrifying for Ashia.

“…fear and terror surrounded our souls”, she says.

She was separated from people she loves, like her parents and her brothers, who fled to different countries.

And although she eventually found safety at Talbieh Camp, finding the means to earn money and feed her family was stressful. She knew she didn’t have anyone to lean on to borrow money from.

Ashia has picked up skills in pastry-making, sales and advertising through training provided by our partner. Now she is growing her own business, and working hard to provide for her sons. Arthur Tainturier / Act for Peace

Eventually, she attended production kitchen training, run by our local partner in Jordan and funded by the Act for Peace Ration Challenge.

There, she learned how to make her own pastries; delicious pastries she could sell for profit. With the training provided by our partner, she has picked up valuable skills in advertising and sales and has been able to start her own business.

A business that is now growing and allowing Ashia to support her family’s needs.

She says,

“I hope I will expand my kitchen production project to benefit many people, especially the forgotten persons. We feel sometimes that we are forgotten, but occasionally Australia remembers us with some help and stands by our side even if it is a country far away…thanks Australia for being with us in our struggles.”

Over the next few weeks, thousands of Australians will put their name down to do the Ration Challenge, eat rations and raise funds to provide emergency food, healthcare and life-saving support to Syrian refugees like Ashia; to remember the millions of us around the world who have been forced to flee their homes due to violent conflict or disaster.

The act of remembering is special. It moves us away from our screens, beyond our own worlds, to become mindful of the wider community of which we are a part.

But more importantly, the act of being remembered shows people that they matter, they are cared for, and they belong to a wider community.

Thank you to all of our supporters for taking action through initiatives like the Ration Challenge, and showing people like Ashia that they are remembered.

Learn more about the Ration Challenge 2022 here.

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