It’s not a distant memory when the marketplaces were bustling with trade and commerce, cities were prosperous with life and vibrant energy, parks and playgrounds buzzed with buoyant children, and busy noisy streets flowed with hooting cars and the customary road rage. Yet, this aesthetic image of Syria seems like an ancient past, as what remains are ruins amongst a ceaseless civil war.The humanitarian toll of the conflict is unprecedented. With a diaspora of 4.6 million Syrians displaced and 13.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance, the relief required to fulfil the demand falls short, despite the admirable efforts by charities, non-governmental organisations, and relief agencies.

At a recent conference, leaders from around the world attempted to reach a target of $9bn needed to deal with the humanitarian crisis. However, they failed to reach the total required with the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, acknowledging “there is a critical shortfall in life-saving aid”.

As the world braces itself for the influx of refugees trying to escape their dire conditions, it becomes ever more important for the people to extend their hands of generosity and compassion. The refugees fleeing from bombs and bullets lived a peaceful existence just like us, not so long ago. The children, with shattered dreams and hopes, held no different aspirations from our children.

The leaders of the world may have let the Syrian people down but it is the people of the world who will truly empathise with their suffering. Charities, like Al-Fatiha Global, work tirelessly to ensure aid is delivered to the right people, especially those marooned deep inside the worst conflict zones. These are the ones who suffer the most, under constant bombardment and fear of death.

Abandonment is probably one of the worst human experiences the Syrians are dealing with; betrayed by their own government, killed by foreign weapons and their own people, abandoned by the world they sought help from. The trauma from such a feeling becomes deep rooted and it takes years of emotional restructuring to regain trust and stability, especially on a mass scale.

Living as strangers in their own homeland, amongst the despair and wreckage, the little aid consisting of basic necessities provides enough hope that they have not been forgotten, that there are people out there who care. These small gestures can go a long way in giving them strength to continue and eventually rebuild their lives once the war is over.

We, the civilians of humanity, must take responsibility and do what our leaders are failing to do. We must step forward with compassion and love, generosity and empowerment, strength and hope, and be there for the oppressed in their most neediest of times. If we don’t, nobody else will.