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A Safety Net for the Unsupported

Support to Life aids Syrian refugees who remain unregistered for fear of being put into camps. Fatima, a mother of five, is the head of one such family. Following her husband’s arrest and the destruction of their house by a single tank shell, her family walked for two days across mountains to reach safety in the Turkish village of Besh Arslan. And though her shelter is cramped and lacks a stove, she says she would rather return to Syria than be kept in one of the 20 camps where over 200,000 Syrians currently reside.

The Turkish government estimates that 300,000 such unregistered refugees are currently subsisting on their own along the Syrian border. STL supports 3,500 of these households in Hatay and Kilis provinces via food vouchers, including electronic cards that allow urban refugees to purchase food and other items. STL also administers two community centers where Syrians can socialize, attend free classes, and be referred to counselors, teachers, and other community organizers.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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