I searched my heart about whether or not to share this story because it is so challenging, but I feel that people need to know what is happening in Syria.
The media never portrays the reality, the cost of human life and the breakdown of both society and humanity in a place like Syria. Sometimes, the darkness that exists is so dark that it is hard for the people in the middle of it to even believe that they will ever see light again. The destruction and wounds to people's hearts and minds are more devastating than the wounds that are inflicted on their bodies.
Yesterday Dr A was working in one of our medical team's facilities in an area where the fighting is fiercest and life is very tough. I could feel the heaviness in his heart as he described to me the darkness that is surrounding people's souls in Syria. He told me about the disturbing stories of the people they were treating there yesterday. He told of me about the dead man that was brought in to them who was killed because his brother wanted his money, and the mother and daughter with the most heart breaking story.
This 13 year old girl was brought in by her mother. She had multiple bruises and injuries to her thighs and genitals as well as an infection. She had scars from previous attacks and was in a very poor state. When Dr A examined her she refused to speak, she just wanted pain relief. When he pushed her to tell him what had happened, the girl broke down in tears and told him her story; things you can imagine, and things you can't.
Her father had been a teacher but he was killed in the war in Syria. They were an ordinary and respectable family. Over time her mother became more and more desperate trying to make ends meet. She started to have dealings with people who asked more and more of her. One day her mother came to her and said she needed her help. This was when her nightmares really started.
Society in Syria has broken down so much that in these areas there is no longer any proper power or government body to protect girls like this or follow their cases or even to prosecute the parents.
This is such a challenging location and there is so much poverty and conflict around this area. The building they are using as a small hospital is damaged from previous attacks and there are holes in some of the walls which need to be repaired. The staff and the patients are plagued by mosquitos as they try to work and sleep. They have a little bit of food but because there is no electricity supply and fuel is so scarce and expensive they can't store it.
This medical facility is so primitive but also so essential because so many hospitals in this area have been destroyed, and there is so much conflict. The area is so dangerous that no one in Syria is willing to go to work there. The medical team is exclusively made up of volunteer doctors and nurses from the surrounding area who are committed to serving their people whatever the cost. But there aren't enough of them to serve the needs.
Last night Dr A spent the night there with his team, but there isn't anywhere appropriate for them to sleep when they need to. They have some beds but not enough. The doctors, nurses and patients alike just try to find anywhere they can to sleep, and the staff take turns to have somewhere to lie down according to who needs it most.
When I asked Dr A more about the young girl I have told you about he replied
"Samara, this is just one of so many stories."
He told me
"We do our best to keep smiling in front of our patients, but sometimes we can't hold it anymore and break down in tears.
"Last night, before I fell asleep I wondered what would happen if I died. What would become of my wife and four children? What if I had a young daughter, what would become of her?"
I believe this young girl's and her mother's life would look very different if her father was still alive. How desperate does an ordinary mother have to become to be willing to sell her daughter's body so they can eat? I'm sure every one of us would like to believe that there is nothing on earth that would bring us to do something like this to our own child, but what do we know or understand about it until we are faced with the reality of a horrendous situation like this?
The lives that our medical teams are saving through our hospital and those that we are supporting are so precious. If we save the life of a father we don't simply save his life, but we save the dignity and humanity of his wife and children too. The death of a breadwinner who has dependents in a place like Syria where 67% of the population are living in extreme poverty, has a much wider impact than just the loss of one life. It will literally devastate the lives and futures of the whole family.
Please help us to continue the essential work we doing in Syria through our medical teams.
We need to raise £20,000 every month in standing orders to support our hospital, and we are fundraising to cover the costs of opening two more. We currently have nearly £4,500 a month which is great but more is needed.http://www.samarasaidappeal.org/hospital-appeal/
Could you help us to back a bed, or sponsor doctor? I have just put some fundraising resources on the website that you can use to plan fundraising events in your churches, communities, schools and workplaces.
Dr A told me that when he was returning home after his time at this medical facility he was so upset by the things he was dealing with that he made a promise to Jesus that he would stay there and fight for these people to the end, no matter what the cost.
These courageous doctors and nurses deserve our full support because they are the heros in this battle. But they need help from outside to continue this essential and life saving work.
We may not be able to stop the bombs from falling or the guns that are shooting, but we can support the people inside Syria. We need to work together to bring a glimmer of hope to these people who are surrounded by darkness and are exhausted by more than five years of conflict and a worsening social situation.
Every one of us has something to give and we can all do something to improve the lives of these people. £10, £20 or £30 per month wouldn't change the lives of many of the people reading this message, and I am so grateful to all of you who are already supporting our medical teams with standing orders. But every penny donated to our appeal goes directly to funding our hospitals and supporting our medical teams. This money will save lives, and prevent more girls like this from having to go through this sort of physical, psychological and emotional trauma.
Will you help us bring some love and care to these traumatised people?