A personal story update by Dr Shameela Islam-Zulfiqar

Alhamdulilah, awesome and extremely humbling day today!

We arranged for around 75 Syrian widows and orphans to have half a day out – away from the poor conditions that they are living in – and out of their daily struggles for a short while. This included the Mahmoudi family I wrote about a couple of days ago.

We booked a lovely small restaurant at the foothills of the Syrian mountains and arranged transport to bring the families to it. Despite the beautiful nature of the surroundings, one couldn’t escape from the reality of what is going on across the border. Heavy shelling could be heard in the not too far distance – which killed a few civilians…Nothing you would hear about in western news agencies. Apart from that sinister reminder that we had during the early afternoon about how dangerous life is for the people of Syria stuck inside its borders, the rest of the day was uneventful.

It was lovely for the sisters and their children to just ‘get away from it all’. It was so rewarding to watch them de-stress & mingle with other families who each had their own stories to tell.

I must say..I was reduced to tears after seeing the way some of these kids ate – it was such a novelty for them; A proper treat! These families were just like us a few short years ago.. Living in peace in their comfortable homes. Some already used to eating out like today in their homeland of Syria when there was peace. Some of the younger ones have only known life as a refugee. They are certainly not used to waiters serving them!

Today must have been difficult for some of the mothers too. I watched some of them sat with their children, now without a husband to support and nurture their children alongside them. You could almost see the deep sadness and reflection written on their faces. It’s such a big test to face alone in a host country.

I had my own little surprise arranged for the children. Out came the henna cones after dinner. I got mobbed when the kids realised I was applying henna for them all, the boys as well as the girls! Alhamdulillah, managed to please everyone, except the last little girl who said one of the boys had had two henna tattoos done lol after he hid one hand under the table

Children are so easily pleased, and I came away from that little fun day knowing that these families and these beautiful kids would remember ‘Doctora Jamila’ (as they know me) for at least a few weeks until the henna fades! They also send their love and Salaams back to the people of ‘Brittania’ as they call us! Jzk to everyone who has helped support our campaigns.

If you would like to help Syrian refugees please donate to our winter appeal campaign.