Stories

Faces of Strength

What does strength look like to you? As a Health Officer in Jordan, I see strength every day in the faces of refugee mothers who are raising their children alone in a foreign country, or women who lost loved ones while fleeing conflict.

For these women, their inner strength compels them to keep going, even when challenges continue to come their way.

On some days, when I witness a lot of pain and suffering, I feel despair. The women we help access health care services have been through so much, and still have big struggles to overcome, such as financial burdens and mental health needs. I continually remind myself that whatever the problem, I have to be part of the solution. I choose to align myself with people, like my colleagues at Medair, who have a mutual passion for serving others and stand for positive change. This is why the work I do is important; because I’m a big part of helping people in need, reaching people in underserved areas and making their access to health care services much easier.

I feel so lucky to work alongside a group of fierce women that I truly admire. We cheer one another on in our achievements, however big or small, and share experiences to encourage learning. Empowering all women, whether at home or the workplace, is not about having power over men but having the courage, as women, to lead and to participate in all aspects of life.

Everyday Medair staff across the world, including many women like myself, provide emergency services to support other women; strong, powerful and brave women. I am moved by the resilience they have in the face of natural disasters and conflict, and on International Women’s Day we recognise their perseverance and honour them:

 

Kavira in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

“I come from Lusoa, which is one and a half hours away on foot. I’m here to seek treatment for my son Silas, who is suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting. There’s no health centre in Lusoa, just a pharmacy …but you have to pay, and the prices are beyond our means.”

Originally from Kyala, Kavria and her family fled massacres there two years ago. Her son was born while the family was displaced in Lusoa.

“I hope that one day I can return to Kyala with my husband and four children. We’re still waiting for it to be sufficiently calm”.

 

Saead in Lebanon:

“Over the mountains of Lebanon, we lost each other. Today, I live in a tent in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon with two of my children. My husband and two other children took the death-boats over the sea to Europe; they arrived and settled in Turkey.”

Om Saead was born in Al Yarmouk Camp in Syria; her parents were Palestinian refugees. This is the second time she has been a refugee, and is attending the psychosocial support sessions provided by Medair.

“I know hundreds of families who are apart because of the crisis in Syria; a lot of sadness, disappointments, and hard stories. I know I’m not alone in this. And that is why I always talk, to let go. And I always listen, too. I listen to the stories of my relatives and neighbours here in these vulnerable tents, and I listen to their daily problems and struggles. Sometimes this is what most of us need, someone to talk to — a good listener.”

 

Marcia in South Sudan:

 

Marcia is a leader in her South Sudan community. She is responsible for taking any concerns of the women forward to the Chief. She is also a champion for encouraging people to use the water filters provided by Medair.

“When people don’t use the filter, they get diseases. I’ve seen it in my own family. We have a rule – you cannot drink water that is not filtered!”