This Friday (June 27), a dinner to raise funds for the Syrian plight will be held in the beautiful gardens of the Crimean Memorial Church. The organisers are hoping to raise $1,000 or more for two important causes. A donation of TL75 (£22) per head is suggested, and includes a hearty vegetarian Sri Lankan curry and dessert. To make sure that as much money as possible goes to the causes, please bring your own beer, wine or soft drinks. Please note that the donation amount is only a suggestion and any amount will be accepted.
Spawning from the Syrian Supper Club, a movement that started in London in 2011 and which involves people holding dinner parties and charging their friends a small amount to fundraise for Syria Relief, the organisers of this dinner are raising money for two important causes.
The first is the Atareb hospital north of Aleppo, which, unless it finds another funding partner by the end of June, will be forced to close. It was first opened in May 2013 as a small A&E unit and then grew to offer 68 beds and a wide range of services – from maternity and neonatal facilities to many outpatient departments, three excellent operating theatres and a laboratory. It cares not only for those injured in the conflict but also non-conflict-related conditions such as cancer, heart disease, asthma and diabetes. It even has a dialysis unit. It provides free healthcare to anyone, regardless or political or faith affiliation. Click here for more information.
The second cause is Syria’s Civil Defence Teams. When the Syrian regime withdrew from areas across northern Syria, public services, including emergency services, collapsed. As the same regime continued its heavy bombing of these areas, local civilians formed makeshift civil defence teams to rescue people trapped inside collapsed buildings. Over the past year, these teams have finally received their first formal training in search and rescue, and now have small amounts of specialised equipment. However, the need is still enormous and includes everything from: vehicles to get to incident sites as quickly as possible, replacement uniforms, gloves and body bags. The teams are made up almost entirely of volunteers – men who used to be bakers, bus drivers, law students or tailors before the war but who are now risking their lives to save others and give their war-battered communities a sense of hope. For more on their training and work, you can watch the 17-minute film, Digging for Life, below.
Main image shows a social media campaign to save the Atareb Hospital.