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Nahed* is from Homs in Syria.

 

"I was living happily there before the conflict started", she says.

 

"But after it began, the situation became mixed-up. We decided to come to Lebanon, because I was afraid for my children. They were traumatised by what they had seen and heard."

 

"The cooperative and IRC offered us this work making fishing nets here. The training is good, it's great. It helps us to learn and to earn a living."

 

"I hope to be able to sell the nets to get some income, to be able to support my family."

 

Learning how to knit fishing nets might not seem the most urgent priority for refugees who fled Syria’s civil war, yet the International Rescue Committee believes that providing the essential tools to help people to find work is a vital way to help them support themselves.

 

The women also learn how to finish nets by sewing weights and floats to them. The nets are then ready for sale to local fishermen. There’s certainly an art to the craft; it takes months of practice to become expert. Once fully trained it is possible for one woman to knit a 100-meter or 300 foot long fishing net in just three hours.

 

The UK has committed over £800 million to help those affected by the conflict in Syria - our largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis.

 

In addition to livelihoods projects like this one, UK funding is providing support including food, medical care and relief items for over a million people - people who have been affected by the fighting but are still inside Syria and those who have fled the country and become refugees in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.

 

Picture: Russell Watkins/DFID

Live Savers: Mosquito nets help protect the most vulnerable, including pregnant women and infants. © UNHCR/Zalmaï

  

World Malaria Day: Nothing But Nets does nothing but good for refugees

  

DADAAB, Kenya, April 24 (UNHCR) – In the sprawling complex of UNHCR-run refugee camps in north-east Kenya's arid Dadaab area, a simple mosquito net can make the difference between misery and comfort, life and death.

 

Fartun, a 24-year-old Somali mother, was overjoyed when she received her insecticide-treated net from UNHCR partner, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), on arriving at Dadaab's Hagadera camp earlier this year after fleeing from her home in the Somali port city of Kismayo.

 

It was one of the first items that she received and proved vital just two days later, when she gave birth to a son in the makeshift tukul (shelter) that she now lives in at Hagadera – the largest of three camps at Dadaab that hold some 270,000 people and make this one of the most congested refugee sites in the world.

 

The net protected her, her new-born boy and her five-year-old daughter, from mosquitoes and the threat of malaria. "I use it every night when I and my children go to sleep. It makes me feel safe and it protects us from insects, snakes and scorpions," said Fartun, who lost contact with her husband and another daughter after fleeing from their home in the volatile south of Somalia.

 

Since the start of the year, IRC has been distributing nets every week to vulnerable refugees in Hagadera, especially pregnant women and children aged under five years. Due to their low levels of immunity, both are at greater risk of developing serious complications if they contract malaria.

 

It can cause spontaneous abortion in pregnant women, while infants run the risk of contracting the potentially fatal cerebral malaria. But a simple piece of chemically-treated mesh can avert this, and the importance of prevention will be one of the awareness factors broadcast globally on World Malaria Day tomorrow.

 

IRC uses its community outreach workers to ensure that the most vulnerable refugees receive the specially-treated nets, which have a five-year lifespan and were funded by the UN Foundation's Nothing But Nets (NBN) campaign.

 

Last year, NBN signed an agreement with UNHCR to eliminate malaria deaths in refugee camps, particularly in Africa. The campaign aims to provide 275,000 mosquito bed nets for distribution in Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda by UNHCR implementing partners. One net, which can protect two people, costs US$10 to purchase, distribute and educate families on its use.

 

So far this year, IRC has distributed almost 5,000 in Hagadera, while another UNHCR partner, GTZ, has handed out a similar number in each of the other two Dadaab camps.

 

"Distribution of nets has helped increase the number of women presenting their children for immunization and vaccination," said Victoria Mshiki of IRC's Community Health Programme. "We couple the distribution with health education and underline the importance of using the nets."

 

Kamara, a 30-year-old Somali Bantu mother of five, also arrived in Hagadera when she was pregnant and is now about to give birth. She was given a net when she visited the IRC hospital for an ante-natal check-up.

 

Every night she and her children, including three-year-old twins Mahina and Nasro, sleep under two nets in the mud-brick shelter in which they live. "The nets have helped a lot. My children sleep easier at night under them and I feel safer for myself and them as a result," Kamara said.

 

With increased funding and more nets, the plan is to provide everyone in Dadaab with mosquito net protection. Of the millions of people of concern to UNHCR, two thirds live in malaria endemic areas. UNHCR estimates that about 930,000 refugees are infected with malaria every year in Africa.

 

By Andy Needham in Dadaab, Kenya

I am very impressed with the New Orleans Healing Center. It seems unique among community centers in that it was specially created to help, heal, and empower surrounding neighborhoods on a civic, social, economic, environmental, intellectual, and spiritual level. Cool, no? I learned that at its core it consists of a cooperative grocery, street university, yoga studio, green business incubator, healing arts collective, performance theater, interfaith center, and organic food restaurant. But more importantly, these and other carefully selected community-focused programs, services, and activities are designed to help revitalize and restore neighborhoods and bring them together.

 

A Syrian refugee woman with her 25-day-old daughter, at an International Rescue Committee (IRC) clinic in Ramtha, near the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan. The baby was born in Jordan after their home was bombed in Syria.

 

"We lost our home when it was bombed while I was inside with my other son and daughter . We were scared and terrified. My brother was killed. I can't stop crying for him", she says.

 

"The support we're getting here is helping. It means I can get medicine for my children.

 

"I hope that my new daughter will not have to live through the terror that my other children have been through", she says.

 

"I just hope that she will have a beautiful life and that one day we can go back to Syria."

 

UK aid is helping the IRC provide essential primary health care and psychosocial care to approximately 80 Syrian refugees every day here. It also provides prescriptions for medicines that can be obtained free of charge from nearby pharmacies.

 

Find out more about UK support for the Syria humanitarian crisis

 

Picture: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development

A woman from Homs, Syria, now a refugee in Lebanon, shows off knitted woolen clothes that she's learnt how to make, with support from the International Rescue Committee and UK aid.

 

As well as training women to make fishing nets, for which there is a local market in northern Lebanon, the International Rescue Committee is also running a project helping women to learn to knit clothes. The clothes can then either be used by the refugees themselves (many refugees were able to bring very few clothes with them from Syria) or they can be sold at local Lebanese markets like this one.

 

The UK has committed over £600 million to help those affected by the conflict in Syria - our largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis. This funding is providing support including food, medical care and relief items for over a million people - people who have been affected by the fighting but are still inside Syria and those who have fled the country and become refugees in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.

 

Picture: Russell Watkins/DFID

A young Darfur refugee

 

Gerald Martone: www.theIRC.org

 

Mrza rinses off a row of raddishes Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. (Photo by Jon LaFlamme)

Riyan*, aged 19, is from northern Lebanon. She is in college but also recieving vocational training in how to make fishing nets as part of a co-operative supported by the International Rescue Committee and UK aid. She wants to go to university and is hoping that the income she can make from selling fishing nets will help her to pay for her studies.

 

Some UK-funded aid programmes are supporting both Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese citizens, in order to help community relations in the country. More than a quarter of Lebanon's population is now made up of Syrian refugees, meaning there is huge pressure on - and competition for - jobs and services.

 

The UK has committed over £1 billion to help those affected by the conflict in Syria - our largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis. This funding is providing support including food, medical care and relief items for over a million people - people who have been affected by the fighting but are still inside Syria and those who have fled the country and become refugees in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.

 

*Name has been changed for protection.

 

Picture: Russell Watkins/DFID

Hussein loosens an attachment on a ground-leveling rig at the Steele Indian School farm plot Saturday morning, Nov. 2, 2013. Hussein built the rig himself, using a welder. (Photo by Jon LaFlamme)

I am very impressed with the New Orleans Healing Center. It seems unique among community centers in that it was specially created to help, heal, and empower surrounding neighborhoods on a civic, social, economic, environmental, intellectual, and spiritual level. Cool, no? I learned that at its core it consists of a cooperative grocery, street university, yoga studio, green business incubator, healing arts collective, performance theater, interfaith center, and organic food restaurant. But more importantly, these and other carefully selected community-focused programs, services, and activities are designed to help revitalize and restore neighborhoods and bring them together.

 

Amani*, aged 24, is a teacher from Syria. When the conflict started her school had to shut as it wasn't safe. She taught students in her home for a while but over time that became unsafe too. Eventually she fled to Lebanon with her husband and young child.

 

She's now learning a new skill with the help of the International Rescue Committee and UK aid - how to make fishing nets. Since becoming a refugee, she hasn't been to work as a teacher, but there's a local market for fishing nets in northern Lebanon, so the International Rescue Committee is working with a local co-operative to train Syrian women like Amani to help them be able to earn some money.

 

"The training is good", she says. "There are lots of fishermen in the region I'm from in Syria, so even if I can't work as a teacher, I might be able to make fishing nets instead."

 

"All I want to do is go back to Syria, and as soon as the conflict is over I will pack my bags and go home".

 

The UK has committed over £800 million to help those affected by the conflict in Syria - our largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis. This funding is providing support including food, medical care and relief items for over a million people - people who have been affected by the fighting but are still inside Syria and those who have fled the country and become refugees in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.

 

*Name has been changed for protection.

 

Picture: Russell Watkins/DFID.

Eggplant is Hussein's second-best seller, next to cucumber. His wife will sell some of the eggplant at the farmer's market Saturday, but most he will sell the majority of the eggplants in bulk to a local grocery store. (Photo by Jon LaFlamme)

Hussein carries a bag of egglplants over to his wife and daughter Friday evening, Nov 8, 2013. (Photo by Jon LaFlamme)

Women refugees attend a counselling session at a clinic near Mafraq in northern Jordan. With support from the UK, the International Rescue Committee is helping refugees who have crossed the border from Syria to escape the fighting by providing medical and psycho-social care such as trauma counselling.

 

"Leaving our home to come to another country was the hardest thing to do, it was very difficult", says Noor*, pictured left.

  

Find out more about UK support for the Syria humanitarian crisis

 

Picture: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development

 

*Name has been changed

An IRC team is in Colombia to re-launch relief programs in a country where more than 40 years of civil war has displaced some three million people—a million of those in just the past five years, according to the United Nations.

 

Story at www.theirc.org/where/the-irc-in-colombia.html

 

Photo: Gerald Simpson www.theIRC.org

Photo: Peter Biro www.theIRC.org

 

Kudos to International Rescue Committee colleague Peter Biro, who's won this year’s grand prize in the annual photography contest organized by InterAction, a coalition of 160 international aid groups.

 

His winning photo shows women sharing coffee in a women’s center run by the IRC in the Abu Shouk camp in northern Darfur. At these centers, women learn to read and write and come together to sing, dance, draw or relax over a cup of coffee.

 

Here's what Peter had to say about the photo at the April 18 award ceremony in Washington D.C.: “Women were laughing, talking to each other in small groups, sharing grievances, I’m sure, but also jokes. I was trying to capture the essence of these centers—an oasis of calm and a bit of joy—in the madness and suffering that continues to affect hundreds of thousands in Darfur.”

 

You can see more of Peter's photos from Darfur at www.theirc.org/resources/essays/darfurs-camp-life.html

Amira, 22, a Syrian refugee in her new 'home' - a basic rented apartment near Irbid, northern Jordan.

 

Amira*, 22, is a Syrian refugee, but she had already had a much harder start to life than most young women, even before the conflict in Syria began. She was forced to marry at the age of just 13, and had her first child, a girl, at 14. Her emotional experience of fleeing Syria because of the conflict is even more complicated than many other women's stories - although she's far from alone.

 

Her first husband had been abusive from the beginning, beating her even when she was pregnant. He divorced her after the birth of her daughter, and the child was taken away. Amira has never seen her daughter again, and doesn't know where she is.

 

As if that wasn't enough, Amira was then forced to marry again at 15. By the time she was 17 she'd had two sons with her second husband. He then died in the conflict in Syria. She was then kept in a controlling and abusive environment by her second husband's family, until she decided to flee because of the fighting.

 

"The day I left Syria for Jordan, as soon as the car started moving, I felt like I was leaving for a whole new world, away from oppression and all that", says Amira.

 

"I felt happy and free for the first time. I felt I was liberated".

 

"I had stayed with my in-laws for a year after my second husband's death, but they dealt very harshly with me."

 

"I couldn't keep silent any longer. So I fled and came to Jordan".

 

"After I came here and started to receive some psychological support, I began to feel I'm more open. Now my morale is soaring".

 

"The support has helped me to deal with my family, to overcome my sadness and live independently, not depending on anyone.

 

"I want to live up to the responsibility now and care for my sons, to be proud of them in the future".

 

Although Amira fled from Syria because of the fighting there, she now wants to make a new life in Jordan. Like most Syrian refugees, she arrived in Jordan with little more than the clothes she could carry.

 

She has been receiving support from the International Rescue Committee, with funding from the UK, in the form of cash assistance (£100 per family per month for 6 months) to help cover basic needs. She also is receiving psychosocial counselling.

 

The IRC run 3 drop-in women's centres in northern Jordan, where Syrian refugee women can go to meet, talk, and access services such as psychosocial counselling. The centres also provide information and basic vocational skills training, such as financial planning, language and handicrafts classes.

 

Picture © Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos for DFID.

 

A Somali woman walks through rows of makeshift shelters in one of the camps at Dadaab. UNHCR is supporting efforts to help the victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse.

UNHCR / E. Hockstein / December 2008

 

16 Days of Activism: Special office in Kenyan refugee camp helps victims of sexual violence

 

DADAAB, Kenya, November 30 (UNHCR) – In Hagadera, one of three sprawling refugee camps in north-west Kenya's Dadaab region, there's a group of women who call themselves "survivors." They are victims of sexual violence, a scourge which reaches into the overcrowded camps, home to some 270,000 people, mainly Somalis, who have fled their troubled homeland.

 

Many retreat into themselves, but a growing number of these abused women are turning to a special Gender and Development Office – backed by the UN refugee agency and run by CARE – that counsels victims of rape or domestic violence and also helps to empower them, through training programmes, income-generation activities and the like. It will soon be complemented by a Gender Recovery Centre, which is due to open on December 10 at Hagadera's hospital.

 

UNHCR recently sat down and talked with a group of "survivors," including Fatuma,* a 42-year-old widow. The mother of six was referred to the CARE Gender and Development Office (CARE-GAD) after she was badly beaten when fighting off a man who was trying to rape her. Neighbours chased the man away.

 

The office's help was vital in her physical and mental recovery. "CARE-GAD facilitated additional hospital check-ups for me as well as regular home visits. Every morning they ask me how I'm doing," said Fatuma, who also received valuable business training.

 

"I'm a survivor. I have been trained in business skills and now I'm involved in running a donkey cart service which transports goods and food to vulnerable families distant from the camp's service areas." Thanks to the counselling and business training that she received, she has been able to get on with her life.

 

Habibo* survived an even worse experience than Fatuma. The 31-year-old mother of two was raped by two armed men while out collecting firewood on the outskirts of Hagadera camp.

 

"I am a rape victim. But the counselling I received from CARE-GAD was very effective, it settled my mind and I almost forgot the incident," said Habibo, who also received support through a business skills group established for vulnerable women and now runs a grocery store in Hagadera.

 

"We are survivors," she said, surrounded by other women who have been helped by the gender and development office. "We also talk to other survivors and encourage them to report their cases – assault, wife battery, rape – to the police, hospitals and CARE-GAD."

 

Binto,* meanwhile, is a victim of domestic violence. Her problems began when she was unable to have sex with her husband because she was suffering from a gynaecological problem. "He said to me, 'You are not sick, you are denying me my rights.' Then he would beat me. I reported it to the police and went to the hospital for treatment," she recalled.

 

She also went to the centre run by CARE. "After the counselling, I became settled . . . It showed me that we can encounter any problem and deal with it. Anything is possible." Binto, who has since divorced, is among the group of "survivors" who now spend much of their time helping other abused women.

 

"We help others; tell them when and how to report incidents. It's empowerment through helping others. It's bad to hide problems. Some problems we hid before but we shouldn't." She will soon join a group of women who are setting up a grocery business in Hagadera's market under an income generation programme run by CARE-GAD and supported by UNHCR.

 

The work done by the gender and development office will be boosted when the Gender Recovery Centre opens on December 10, final day of the annual 16 Days of Activism to Eliminate Violence Against Women, an international campaign supported by UNHCR and originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute in 1991.

 

Currently, victims of sexual and gender-based violence requiring hospitalization must stay in mixed wards. But Natasha Nabwire, gender officer at the CARE-GAD office, explained that when the Gender Recovery Centre opens, "We will have 12 paediatric beds and 12 adult beds in two separate wards in a new hospital wing. Our counselling unit will be able to offer their services more easily in this environment and can call back if needed."

 

The recovery centre will be run by the International Rescue Committee and there are plans to provide a similar service in Dadaab's Ifo and Dagahaley camps.

 

*Names changed for protection reasons

 

By Andy Needham in Dadaab, Kenya

  

The majority of the half million Syrian refugees in Jordan live in urban areas like Ramtha. Although they have been welcomed by Jordanian communities, many refugees are poor and unable to obtain legal jobs. The UK is helping to meet the needs urban refugees as well as those in camps.

 

Find out more about UK support for the Syria humanitarian crisis

 

Picture: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development

  

Hana, with one of her 5 children at their 'home', a basic rented apartment near Irbid in northern Jordan. Hana has received cash assistance and psycho-social counselling from the International Rescue Committee, which is funded by UK aid.

 

Picture: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos for DFID.

A group of women sit cross-legged in a circle, chatting and laughing, sometimes even breaking into song, all the while delicately weaving with their needles.

 

It may look like a traditional image of women from a bygone age, but it’s not. These Syrian refugees and Lebanese women aren’t knitting scarves or children’s clothes; they are learning how to make fishing nets, a skill which will help them find work along Lebanon’s northern coast, in an area reliant on its fishery but which suffers the highest unemployment rates in the entire country.

 

Learning how to knit fishing nets might not seem the most urgent priority for refugees who fled Syria’s civil war, yet the International Rescue Committee believes that providing people with the essential tools to help them find work is a vital way to help them support themselves.

 

The project is supported by UK aid funding, as part of Britain's response to the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon and the region caused by the ongoing conflict in Syria.

 

Francesca Battistin oversees the IRC’s economic support programming in Lebanon. “This particular type of work is very popular among women in this area of the country because it can be done at home,” she says.

 

“It allows flexibility in terms of hours. Many refugee women are heads of households; it is up to them to provide an income now, so they need to be able to work on their own schedule. This provides that freedom.”

 

And while many women look forward to being able to work from their homes, being together for the training is extremely popular. “Before the training we just stayed at home. We can’t afford to go outside. We can’t afford anything,” explains Rasha*, who arrived from Damascus with her seven children two months ago.

 

For Zeinah, a former physiotherapist from Homs, the training not only offers the chance of having an income, but also provides her something to look forward to. “We are all frustrated at not being active. It makes us depressed,” she says. “This type of training helps me a lot emotionally. I love to learn new skills and I really enjoy the opportunity to try something new. I find it very fulfilling.”

 

All the trainees cite the high cost of living as the most difficult challenge they face as refugees. It’s an issue that faces local Lebanese families as well. That’s one reason why the IRC is also reaching out to Lebanese women. More than a third of this first group of 27 trainees is comprised of local women.

 

Many Lebanese are also competing for the same jobs and services as the refugees, which leads to increased tensions between the two communities, so through helping both populations, communal understanding increases, while potential resentments are undercut.

 

Many of the Syrian women explain that despite having a far more comfortable life in Syria before the crisis they expect this new skill will be of use when they do finally go home. And returning home remains their main ambition.

 

“I want to go back to Syria, it is a wonderful country,” says Rasha. “Even if my home village is destroyed I would go back and live in a tent there.” And now, Rasha and others, will have a trade when they do.

 

Picture: Russell Watkins/DFID. Words: Paul Donohoe/IRC

 

A displaced Pashtun boy whose house was destroyed in the floods has sought shelter at a public building together with his family. Photo: Peter Biro/The lRC.

 

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is providing aid to victims of the worst flooding in Pakistan’s modern history. As many as 20 million people have been affected by the devastating monsoon rains.

 

To learn more and help:

www.theirc.org/special-reports/special-report-pakistan

 

A young Darfur refugee in Sudan.

 

Check out the photo mosaic version

 

Photo: Gerald Martone/IRC

Hussein Al Hamka, 51, of Phoenix, levels a plot of farmland at Steele Indian School Park near downtown Phoenix Wednesday evening, Oct. 30, 2013. Hussein, along with his wife and 12 children, left northern Iraq in 2008 because of religious persecution and have been living in the United States since March 2009. (Photo by Jon LaFlamme)

Amira, 22, a Syrian refugee pictured in her new 'home' a basic rented apartment in northern Jordan.

 

Amira* is a Syrian refugee, but she had already had a much harder start to life than most young women, even before the conflict in Syria began. She was forced to marry at the age of just 13, and had her first child, a girl, at 14. Her emotional experience of fleeing Syria because of the conflict is even more complicated than many other women's stories - although she's far from alone.

 

Her first husband had been abusive from the beginning, beating her even when she was pregnant. He divorced her after the birth of her daughter, and the child was taken away. Amira has never seen her daughter again, and doesn't know where she is.

 

As if that wasn't enough, Amira was then forced to marry again at 15. By the time she was 17 she'd had two sons with her second husband. He then died in the conflict in Syria, and she decided to flee because of the fighting.

 

"The day I left Syria for Jordan, as soon as the car started moving, I felt like I was leaving for a whole new world, away from oppression and all that", says Amira.

 

"I felt happy and free for the first time. I felt I was liberated".

 

"I had stayed with my in-laws for a year after my second husband's death, but they dealt very harshly with me."

 

"I couldn't keep silent any longer. So I fled and came to Jordan".

 

"After I came here and started to receive some psychological support, I began to feel I'm more open. Now my morale is soaring".

 

"The support has helped me to deal with my family, to overcome my sadness and live independently, not depending on anyone.

 

"I want to live up to the responsibility now and care for my sons, to be proud of them in the future".

 

Although Amira fled from Syria because of the fighting there, she now wants to make a new life in Jordan. Like most Syrian refugees, she arrived in Jordan with little more than the clothes she could carry.

 

She has been receiving support from the International Rescue Committee, with funding from the UK, in the form of cash assistance (£100 per family per month for 6 months) to help cover basic needs. She also is receiving psychosocial counselling.

 

The IRC run 3 drop-in women's centres in northern Jordan, where Syrian refugee women can go to meet, talk, and access services such as psychosocial counselling. The centres also provide information and basic vocational skills training, such as financial planning, language and handicrafts classes.

 

Picture © Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos for DFID.

 

Photo of Darfuri regfugees in Chad taken by the International Rescue Committee's Gerald Martone.

 

Join the IRC's first live webinar on April 03, 2009.

 

You will hear the moving and inspiring stories behind six photographs from the front lines, told by Gerry Martone and his IRC colleague Peter Biro.

 

Register today for the Photos from the Field webcast, which airs on Friday, April 3rd at 1 PM ET.

 

Powerful photographs give us a window into the lives of the people we serve and the challenges they face to rebuild their lives.

 

Gerry and Peter have documented the IRC's emergency response to crises across three continents. Though their moving photographs and intriguing stories from the front lines, they will take you to the ground in countries like Afghanistan, Myanmar, Congo, and Iraq.

 

It's easy to tune into the webcast from the comfort of your own home or office. The photographs and discussion will be streamed live over the internet. During the webcast, you will also have the opportunity to submit questions for Peter and Gerry.

 

Here's how to tune in:

•Click here to register for the Photos from the Field webcastat at www.theIRC.org/webcast

 

•Once you register, you will receive a confirmation e-mail, with a link to the webcast. On Friday April 3rd at 1:00 PM ET, just click the link, sign-in using your e-mail address, and watch the webcast directly from your computer.

Most of the villagers are now living in the bush in small family groupings, anywhere from one to 10 kilometers behind their villages. They were able to take very little if anything with them. Most have built straw structures with materials they found in the forest. The shacks offer little protection from the elements and no protection from the violence. The lucky ones managed to flee to an area near their farms so they have some food. Others have nothing to eat.

 

Photo: Melissa Winkler/The IRC

Mathieu, fled Burundi in 1972 and returned in 2008 to find the majority of his land taken from him. One night he was attacked by the group of men who had taken his land, which left him in hospital for a year. "The plants around the house are to stop anyone entering the compound quickly, to give me time to cry out for help. We don’t feel safe here", he said.

 

‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾

 

Mathieu a fui le Burundi en 1972. Il y est retourné en 2008, mais on lui avait volé la plus grande partie de ses terres. Une nuit, il a été attaqué par le groupe d'hommes qui lui avaient pris ses terres et a passé un an à l'hôpital. «Les plantes autour de la maison servent à empêcher que des intrus n'entrent rapidement sur la propriété, pour me laisser le temps d'appeler à l'aide. Nous ne nous sentons pas en sécurité ici» déclare-t-il.

 

:copyright: Photo credit Chris de Bode, EU/ECHO, International Rescue Committee UK, Panos Pictures

Nia adopted her niece, Hawa, when she was still a newborn baby. As a result of the drought and famine that swept the Sahel, Hawa, like thousands of other children in Mali became extremely ill because of malnutrition and had to spend 60 days receiving life-saving support from IRC clinics. She is nearly completely recovered. "Life itself is difficult, all over the world. I think people experience the same problems everywhere", she said.

 

‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾

 

Nia a adopté sa nièce, Hawa, lorsque celle-ci n'était qu'un nourrisson. Du fait de la sécheresse et de la famine qui ont balayé le Sahel, Hawa, comme des milliers d'autres enfants maliens, est tombée gravement malade et a dû être traitée pendant deux mois dans un centre médical de l'IRC. Elle est presque complètement guérie aujourd'hui. «La vie est difficile, partout dans le monde. Je pense que les gens rencontrent les mêmes problèmes partout», dit-elle.

 

© Photo credit Espen Rasmussen, EU/ECHO, International Rescue Committee UK, Panos Pictures

Petro Markovych was a well established artist in the former Soviet Union in the 1970-80's; however after becoming a Christian Evangelist he was expelled him from the Union of Writers and Artists and was barred from exhibiting his work in galleries throughout Ukraine. In the 60's, Petro participated in the movement which rebelled against the "socialist realism" that furthered Soviet propaganda. After years of continued political harassment Markovych fled to the U.S. and has lived in Renton, WA with his family since 1991.

The International Rescue Committee's Peter Biro has just returned from two weeks on the road with the IRC’s mortality survey teams in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can read his blog here: ircblog.org/archives/1930_1321467639/235059

Said Rifai, from Baghdad, never wanted to consider himself a refugee, but the aspiring-architect-turned-reporter's work for the Los Angeles Times put him in constant danger. After Said's mother and younger brother were tortured in 2006, his family fled Iraq. Then, one by one, his friends began to leave. Said now lives in New York City, where the IRC's Peter Biro took this photo.

 

Read about Said and other Iraqis adjusting to life in America in newsweek www.newsweek.com/id/205249

 

Learn how to help at www.theIRC.org/iraqirefugees

A doctor at an International Rescue Committee clinic in Ramtha, northern Jordan, conducts a check-up on a young Syrian refugee. The UK is supporting IRC to deliver medical aid and psycho-social support to thousands of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.

 

Find out more about UK support for the Syria humanitarian crisis

 

Picture: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development

A Syrian refugee woman in Lebanon gathers up a fishing net that she's made, thanks to a project supported by the International Refugee Committee and UK aid.

 

Russell Watkins/DFID

A girl peeks around a door. To help create normalcy for students traumatized by war, IRC supported schools in Chechya offer youth clubs, performing arts studios, student government, as well as youth committees and sports centers.

 

Photo: IRC www.theIRC.org

Amira, 22, pictured with her two sons at their 'home', a basic rented apartment near Irbid, northern Jordan.

 

Amira* is a Syrian refugee, but she had already had a much harder start to life than most young women, even before the conflict in Syria began. She was forced to marry at the age of just 13, and had her first child, a girl, at 14.

 

Her first husband had been abusive from the beginning, beating her even when she was pregnant. Her child was taken away from her after birth, and she got divorced at 17. Amira has never seen her daughter again, and doesn't know where she is.

 

As if that wasn't enough, Amira was then forced to marry again. She then had two sons with her second husband before he was killed during the conflict in Syria. She stayed with his family for another year, but eventually decided to flee because of the fighting.

 

"The day I left Syria for Jordan, as soon as the car started moving, I felt like I was leaving for a whole new world, away from oppression and all that", says Amira.

 

"I felt happy and free for the first time. I felt I was liberated".

 

"I had stayed with my in-laws for a year after my second husband's death, but they dealt very harshly with me."

 

"I couldn't keep silent any longer. So I fled and came to Jordan".

 

"After I came here and started to receive some psychological support, I began to feel I'm more open. Now my morale is soaring".

 

"The support has helped me to deal with my family, to overcome my sadness and live independently, not depending on anyone.

 

"I want to live up to the responsibility now and care for my sons, to be proud of them in the future".

 

Although Amira fled from Syria because of the fighting there, she now wants to make a new life in Jordan. Like most Syrian refugees, she arrived in Jordan with little more than the clothes she could carry.

 

She has been receiving support from the International Rescue Committee, with funding from the UK, in the form of cash assistance (£100 per family per month for 6 months) to help cover basic needs. She also is receiving psychosocial counselling.

 

The IRC run 3 drop-in women's centres in northern Jordan, where Syrian refugee women can go to meet, talk, and access services such as psychosocial counselling. The centres also provide information and basic vocational skills training, such as financial planning, language and handicrafts classes.

 

Picture © Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos for DFID.

 

*Name has been changed to protect identity.

When militia attacked her village in 2012, Rachel took her family and fled to Bulengo IDP camp in DRC. On the journey her infant child was killed. "I earned three times as much from the farm as from my job as a primary school teacher, but losing my diploma was worse than abandoning my land because my learning is always with me wherever I go," she said.

 

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Lorsqu'une milice a attaqué son village en 2012, Rachel s'est réfugiée avec sa famille dans le camp de déplacés de Bulengo en RDC. Son enfant en bas âge a été tué durant le voyage. «Je gagnais trois fois plus en travaillant à la ferme qu'avec mon emploi d'institutrice à l'école primaire, mais perdre mon diplôme a été pire que d'abandonner ma terre, car mon savoir est toujours avec moi, où que j'aille», explique-t-elle.

 

© Photo credit Sven Torfinn, EU/ECHO, International Rescue Committee UK, Panos Pictures

Somalis carry their belongings from southern Somalia as they arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia, Friday, Aug. 5, 2011. The United Nations says famine will probably spread to all of southern Somalia within a month and force tens of thousands more people to flee into the capital of Mogadishu. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Amira, 22, pictured with her two sons at their 'home', a basic rented apartment in northern Jordan.

 

Amira* is a Syrian refugee, but she had already had a much harder start to life than most young women, even before the conflict in Syria began. She was forced to marry at the age of just 13, and had her first child, a girl, at 14. Her emotional experience of fleeing Syria because of the conflict is even more complicated than many other women's stories - although she's far from alone.

 

Her first husband had been abusive from the beginning, beating her even when she was pregnant. He divorced her after the birth of her daughter, and the child was taken away. Amira has never seen her daughter again, and doesn't know where she is.

 

As if that wasn't enough, Amira was then forced to marry again at 15. By the time she was 17 she'd had two sons with her second husband. He then died in the conflict in Syria, and she decided to flee because of the fighting.

 

"The day I left Syria for Jordan, as soon as the car started moving, I felt like I was leaving for a whole new world, away from oppression and all that", says Amira.

 

"I felt happy and free for the first time. I felt I was liberated".

 

"I had stayed with my in-laws for a year after my second husband's death, but they dealt very harshly with me."

 

"I couldn't keep silent any longer. So I fled and came to Jordan".

 

"After I came here and started to receive some psychological support, I began to feel I'm more open. Now my morale is soaring".

 

"The support has helped me to deal with my family, to overcome my sadness and live independently, not depending on anyone.

 

"I want to live up to the responsibility now and care for my sons, to be proud of them in the future".

 

Although Amira fled from Syria because of the fighting there, she now wants to make a new life in Jordan. Like most Syrian refugees, she arrived in Jordan with little more than the clothes she could carry.

 

She has been receiving support from the International Rescue Committee, with funding from the UK, in the form of cash assistance (£100 per family per month for 6 months) to help cover basic needs. She also is receiving psychosocial counselling.

 

The IRC run 3 drop-in women's centres in northern Jordan, where Syrian refugee women can go to meet, talk, and access services such as psychosocial counselling. The centres also provide information and basic vocational skills training, such as financial planning, language and handicrafts classes.

 

Picture © Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos for DFID.

 

Photo: Anne Richard/The IRC

 

You can see a Google Map of IRC Staff Member Ronnie Saha's Apr/May 2007 trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan at: www.ircblog.org/archives/1930_1321467639/231253

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