Big Heart Campaign donates$1 Million to help displaced victims in Syria get back on their feet with artificial limbs and life-saving treatment

Despite losing limbs and loved ones, donations help victims to heal their shattered lives and resume workingfor their families

UAE, Sharjah, XOctober 2013: In a heartwarming gesture that has brought rare smiles to displaced Syrians whose communities and lives are crumbling around them,the Big Heart Campaign has made a donation of US$1 million through Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qassimi, UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children.

Among the many grateful beneficiaries whose lives will be transformed is ‘Zeinab’, a brave 36-year old mother of fivefrom East Ghouta in Rural Damascus, who has overcome enormous hardships that very few other people on earth would have survived.Virtually every day for the past two years she has tirelessly fought to simply keep her children alive, constantly fleeing with them from village to village to escape death.But her harrowing ordeal took a darker turn when she took her 7-year-old daughterto visit friends, and the building they were in was brought crashing to the ground by a bomb.

Zeinab found herself trapped under thousands of concrete blocks, trying to free her leg. She assumed it had become numb, butthen discovered to her horror that the reason she couldn’t feel her leg is because it was no longer there…In a sight that would send shivers down the spine of even the bravest person, she found that not only had her bone been crushed to shreds and her leg blown away, but her other foot was also nowhere to be found.

Although she was rushed to a field hospital for amputation of her foot, the lack of medicines, equipment and skilled surgeons unfortunately left her with complications from gangrene, necessitating three corrective amputations.

Only her incredible will to live for the sake of her children kept her alive, and Zeinab narrates: “What was more agonizing than the bomb’s shrapnel was the psychological blow of the news that my little daughter had died in the blast. It’s impossible to describe how it feels for a mother to lose a child who just seconds before, was laughing innocently in her arms. She was too young tounderstand the war or understand why she died – and neither do I. If I could trade my life for hers, I would gladly suffer death every single day just to bring my little angel back. But just when I thought my life couldn’t possibly get any worse, my husband accused me of being responsible for our child’s death and abandoned me — leaving me without any support whatsoever.”

A glimmer of hope finally came when Zeinab reached the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) Artificial Limbs Center in Damascus, which is supported by UNHCR with funds from charities like the Big Heart Campaign. Sadly, the treatment she had received at the ill-equipped field hospital was so poor that no artificial limbs would fit her legs.

Struggling to hold back the flood of tears, Zeinabtells the UNHCR: “My life has always revolved around helping others, but nowthat I’m dependent on other people I feel horrible because I feel I’m now a burden and am ruining others’ lives. It’s unimaginable for someone with an independent spirit like mine to be in this helpless position where I can’t even go to the bathroom without assistance. God willing, my new operation will give me back my freedom, my hope and my reason for living.”

In the next few days, this inspirational survivor will get new artificial legs – and after a lengthy rehabilitation, Zeinab will be able to walk again and support her children. All this is courtesy of the UNHCR and the Big Heart Campaign, which is also helping many other displaced Syrians to put together the pieces of their shattered lives and move on.

TareqKurdi, UNHCR Representative in Syria commented: “We are extremely grateful for the generous contribution from the Big heart Campaign under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher, UNHCR Eminent Advocate. The donations are truly life-saving, and will help UNHCR Syria to provide critical medical assistance to the most vulnerable displaced Syrians – especially newborns in need of intensive care, and the disabled. The contributions also help us to put a roof over several thousand displaced people who have been suffering in unhealthy collective shelters while at the mercy of the harsh winter that is around the corner.”

The US$1 million donation is part of a series of donations that will be made by HH Sheikha Jawaheron behalf of the Big Heart Campaign, in order to impact hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Syria itself.

Donors can make life-saving contributions to the ‘Big Heart for Syrian Refugee Children’ campaign. Funds are collected through ‘Salam YaSeghar’, endorsed by HH Sheikha Jawaher.

SMS “Donate”:

Etisalat network: 2000 (AED10), 2002 (AED50), 2003 (AED100)
du network: 9965 (AED10), 9967 (AED50), 9968 (AED100)

Bank Details:

Account Name: Salam YaSeghar “For Syrian Refugee Children”
Account Number: 00344 3043 0012
(Kindly write the bank account number behind your cheque)
IBAN: AE5804 100000 3443043 0012

Contact: +971-6-594-1111/15/03

The Executive Office of HH Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qassimi
Amel Anbar Bashir Ali, +971-6-594-1103
amel.b@hheo.ae