It’s been just over a year since we had arrived at the border town of Killis – Turkey.
Some people thought we were crazy some thought it was forbidden, here was a group of females travelling together out to work with Syrian Refugees.
For the best part of 2013 we had seen images flash on our screens of women and children ravaged by war. Status after status on social media was exactly the same. That overwhelming feeling of wanting to do something to help was constantly blocked by convoys for men only or where is your mehram brick wall.
Nor could I afford the £3,000 that was required to partake in a convoy let alone congure up a made up mehram.
I never got over that part, anyway it was okay for me to go out work solo as a muslim woman, go shopping, go out to eat, live a fully engaging life. Yet when it came to travel to help my fellow muslims I needed a male guardian. And why men travelling alone were not averse to the same risks as me i still don’t understand to this day.
I was aware of an amazing woman on social media who I’d messaged should she know of any women’s groups travelling keep me posted.
So here we were down the line all huddled up in one room strangers. Sleeping bags wooly hats coats the lot. Fighting the cold with hot honey drinks to survive.
It’s surprising when in times of extreme conditions we either become family or enemies. We had become one family.
The tears, laughter and pain each one of us will carry in our hearts forever. How we survived was our unity as a group of sisters and compassion for humanity.
The most sincerest of hearts and kindest souls. And so a year has passed and I sit back reflecting. Wondering what happened to the children with no shoes burning up with fever. What happened to the children who had only the clothes on their backs and a broken toy in their hands. The expressionless mother sat in the car park waiting for the doctor to see her poorly child.
The mothers and the children who would come like a ocean wave to collect the food from the soup kitchens bucket in hand. The child sleeping in a makeshift cardboard box, the toddlers picking bread up off the floor.
Nothing happened Syria is still suffering today. But what happened to each one of us was life changing.
This wasn’t about scoring brownie points or proving a point it was about standing in those soup kitchens holding that woman’s hand looking at her to say “I know and I will tell them all when I get back I promise you”.
It was about changing my pereception of humanity and solidarity with suffering.