We are Hand in Hand for Aid and Development (HIHFAD) - a Syrian-led charity delivering humanitarian aid in Syria and neighbouring countries.
We are training 80 students - who are displaced and living in camps - at the Atmeh Midwife School. One of them is Crystal, who told us:
“My dearest friend and neighbour, Amira*, was pregnant and went into labour during an air raid. It was too dangerous to move her to the hospital, so her family called for help. We waited through the night, as the airstrikes fell, praying for good news in the middle of war. But it was not to be. When morning came, we found out that Amira had died, leaving her newborn son without a mother. Amira died as the woman attending had no proper training or qualifications. I vowed I would honour Amira’s memory by saving others from her terrible fate, so I signed up for the three-year training programme at Atmeh Hospital Midwife School. I am in my second year now and close to reaching my dreams. But now the university is threatened with closure due to lack of funding.”
After over seven years of civil war, the healthcare system in Syria is decimated. Facilities have been systematically destroyed in targeted attacks and many qualified medical staff have been forced to flee abroad. The World Health Organisation estimates that 41% of General Hospitals in Syria don’t have a midwife on staff. Shelling, roadblocks and safety concerns make it difficult for people to move freely, so even where hospitals are available, pregnant women often can’t get to them, leaving them forced to give birth at home. In many instances ‘home’ is a tent or other form of makeshift accommodation. In these situations, mobile, qualified midwives save lives.
If we don’t raise the money needed now, students like Crystal will not be able to complete the training they need to save the lives of mothers and their babies. Not only will your contribution make labour safer for women and children in Syria, it will also provide livelihoods and purpose to young women like Crystal, whose own lives have been devastated by war.
Please contribute to our campaign to keep the school open, so that Crystal and her fellow students can save women like Amira.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.