As a #Live2Give campaign for Syrian refugees started to snowball, Aman Khalaf Al-Tawil’s decision to reach out made a bigger difference than she ever expected.
“I was born in Damascus and three months later, my parents moved to the US. I spent every summer I can remember between Damascus and Homs with my grandparents and cousins. Through my sister, a producer for a leading news channel, I’ve learned firsthand about the plight of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. But until last week I felt powerless as an ordinary person to help.
Fast-forward to Thursday, December 12, when I began to see news reports of Syrians freezing in camps in Lebanon and Jordan. From my Abu Dhabi compound, I was pained to see images of children wearing nothing but socks and slippers with their feet buried in snow.
I was about to fly to Beirut, and knew I was lucky that my Syrian relatives there were safe while other Syrians were dying from cold. So I woke up Friday morning and decided to post a message on my compound’s Facebook group. I simply asked anyone who wanted to donate warm clothes and blankets to drop them off at my villa so I could take them to Beirut the next day.
Throughout Friday and into Saturday, a steady stream of bags arrived. I’d assumed that on such short notice I’d be able to collect maybe one suitcase of clothes, but I ended up with four huge suitcases, including two giant bags of sweaters and coats from people outside our compound. Even after I left, my husband was still receiving bags, which we sent on via Aramex.
Now I know that an ordinary person can act on the spur of the moment and inspire others to do the same. I think we underestimate our power to connect for a humanitarian cause. As one of my neighbors put it on our Facebook page, “Thank you so much for helping us help others.”
For more info – Facebook page with donation request