“Syrian Jasmines”: 12 Ladies Brought Together By Displacement and Humanitarian Action
Enab Baladi – Idlib
Women from six Syrian governorates, who gathered in the northern city of Idlib, launched a team they called “Syrian Jasmines”, which has been implementing volunteering initiatives for the past four years.
The team consists of 12 displaced women from the governorates of Aleppo, Damascus, Hama, Homs, Deir ez-Zor and Idlib. They joined in love for humanitarian work, and united their efforts and shared their experiences to carry out a number of volunteering activities and initiatives.
The group was formerly known as the “Beit el-Mouneh” and founded was June 2015 by ten women, and conducted several awareness campaigns as well as some relief efforts. However, after the displacement of many from Eastern Ghouta a year ago, and other ladies joined the team changed its name to “Syrian Jasmines.”
The team’s founder, Aisha Tohma, told Enab Baladi that the team provides multiple services and conducts several development projects, as well as awareness-raising initiatives and psychosocial support team. They also conduct emergency response campaigns and initiatives during sudden influxes of displacement.
The group’s director of public relations, Duha Shehneh, said she arrived in Ma’arat al-Nu’man in April 2015 after having left Aleppo. She joined the team after watching a message from the coordinator calling for volunteers, adding that the purpose of joining is for displaced women to shift their status from consumer to productive members of society.
Duha considered that the team’s group dynamics are based on good and fraternal relationships, united by one humanitarian purpose. The team worked in several humanitarian fields, in psychological support and response to individual cases of disabled persons, in addition to the opening of a training center and a nursery.
She also noted that one of the most significant difficulties facing the women’s team is the preoccupation of mothers with their children whenever bombing campaigns are carried out in the team’s area of activity.
The Idlib governorate is now witnessing a military escalation by the Syrian regime and Russia, which has so far killed 455 civilians, including 139 children, from February 2 to May 13, according to the Response Coordinators in the Syrian North. Meanwhile, 4,1814 families (260,503 people) have been displaced since April 29, according to the Coordinators.
“Together We Shall Stay ” Targets IDPs
The group’s last campaign was entitled “Together We Shall Stay” and targeted people displaced as a result of the recent military escalation. The group’s founder noted that the campaign was launched in cooperation with the Maan Association based in the Turkish city of Istanbul, targeting camps in northern Syria, and IDPs in several areas.
Meanwhile, the chairman of Maan Association, Ghiath Haj Ahmad, said that “Together We Shall Stay” is a campaign to provide breakfast for the fasting IDPs from the villages of Hama and southern Idlib, who sleep on the streets or under the trees, and in new IDP camps.
Haj Ahmed pointed out that the field headquarters of the initiative is in the city of Sarmada, being close to the border and to the displaced people as well. Food preparation is then done in the charity kitchens located in Sarmada and Ma’arat al-Nu’man, which is then distributed to other displacement destinations.