- What’s On
A dinner to raise funds for the Syrian plight in the beautiful gardens of the Crimean Memorial Church. The organisers are hoping to raise $1,000 or more for two important causes: the Atareb hospital and Syria’s Civil Defence Teams.
The Atareb hospital north of Aleppo, which, unless it finds another funding partner by the end of June, will be forced to close. Its predicament is very clearly explained in this link but in summary, it was first opened in May 2013 as a small A&E unit and then it 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.
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 this 17-minute film, Digging for Life.
The Syrian Supper Club is a movement that started in London in 2011 and which is still going strong – it involves people holding dinner parties and charging their friends a small amount to fundraise for Syria Relief.