Today we traveled to the small town of D’leil to a community based organization called the D’leil Center for Helping Handicapped. By day this Community Based Organization (CBO) is a residence for local handicapped children, but it also acts as a place for the community to convene. It is headed by the incomparable Fatma, who is a true community heroine.
Our schedule was jam-packed. First, we filmed interviews with pregnant Syrian refugees who shared their stories of crossing into refuge into Jordan. Next, we hosted teen girls for a letter exchange with the Austin based Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. Lastly, COHI hosted a women’s discussion circle about reproductive health and delivered supplies.
D’leil Center for Helping Handicapped
Simone and Meg led a women’s health discussion circle for pregnant Syrian refugees. They asked the women, “ask us anything and maybe they could help each other.” Meg said it was discouraging at times because sometimes they couldn’t appropriately address their concerns. For instance, some of the women mentioned that they were frustrated with the UN because they were unable to receive formula for their babies. Meg addressed the issue by saying that she couldn’t change the UN’s mind on that policy but that they could help support them in breastfeeding.
Simone and Meg also passed out prenatal vitamins and discussed how they were beneficial. They gave one bottle to all 21 women in attendance. The women in attendance also mentioned that they had gotten information from doctors that they either had too much fluid or too little fluid around the babies. They interpreted this that they should adjust the amount of water they were drinking! So Meg and Simone talked a lot about drinking water and its benefits and gave them water to drink.
A lot of the women were anemic. Meg and Simone advised them to check their eye lids; pale is bad and red is good. They also checked blood pressures. The women mentioned that they’d been told they had low blood pressure and were most interested in this check.
I asked our host what she felt the day’s activities really affected the women of D’leil. She said the women were impacted directly, the girls were entertained and the CBO could show their work.
Syrian refugee, 5 months pregnant
Letter exchange between Austin based Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders and the Syrian refugee teen girls