May 6, 2015
By Mukta Ghorpadey, SAMS Advocacy & Communications Intern
Women suffer uniquely in war zones. Close to four out of five of the nearly four million Syrian refugees driven from their homes because of conflict are women and children. Many of these women have been uprooted in moments of sudden violence and deprived the luxury of planning and careful thought, forcing many to carry minimal items. Many were forced to leave their homes with only the material on their backs accompanied by an overwhelming uncertainty of their family’s future.
It is in the refugee camps that these women may feel the full impact of their dislocation. Having been forced to leave behind essential clothing and sanitary materials, many find themselves unable to maintain basic personal hygiene. In some cases they are unable to ask for the materials they need and are silently trapped in their conditions. It becomes a question of honor to remain quiet, forcing many women into physical immobility and emotional turmoil.
In an attempt to restore the dignity that these displaced women are denied, the Syrian American Medical Society, in tandem with the International Rescue Committee Jordan, has begun to distribute specialized kits for women within Syria. These kits target women’s sanitary needs and provide adequate clothing–such as head and shoulder scarves–necessary for maintaining self-respect within their communities. SAMS has also ensured that these kits contain warm and cool clothing suited for the changing weather. These Dignity Kits were developed through outreach with Syrian women and girls in order fully comprehend their daily needs.
For millions of women, the Syrian crisis has meant losing their homes, their families, and their way of life. SAMS, through Dignity Kits, hopes to reinstate some of the control these women have sacrificed during this conflict. Syrian women have suffered amidst unimaginable destruction yet, throughout everything, deserve to maintain their fundamental personal dignity. SAMS is proud to work with Syria’s resilient women and girls, and provide them some form of relief.