The civil war in Syria has been ongoing for nearly 8 years, and the population of the country is caught in the crossfire. Once abroad, refugees seek to be placed in camps with resources, but the steady influx of people and the sheer length of the conflict has led to overcrowding. The UN Refugee Agency reports, “Approximately 90% of Syrian refugees live outside of camps in makeshift shelters or urban areas, often in overcrowded and dangerous locations.” These makeshift camps are often under-electrified, if electrified at all. Without access to electricity, refugees are left without light at night, creating a dangerous environment, especially for women and children.
Over the past several years, we have coordinated with several humanitarian partners working in the region to get our lights into the hands of internally displaced persons in Syria, as well as refugees in Lebanon, and Greece. Most recently, our humanitarian partners, Love Without Borders and Refugee Biriyani & Bananas, have made several trips to refugee camps in Greece. They brought with them 200 LuminAID solar lights as well as other much needed relief supplies.
Kayra Martinez, from Love Without Borders, reports from outside the Vial refugee camp in Chios, Greece, “People were very thankful to get some lights that they could use at night, to guide them in the dark, to have lighting in the evening, and also to know people cared in order to make their lives a little bit better.”
Ruhi Akhtar, a volunteer with Refugee Biriyani & Bananas, says, “The lights give people their dignity back. Children and those who are scared in the dark are more comfortable. People use the lights to read, write or to cook. One of the most important benefits is that the toilets are far away, and people are more confident and less scared to travel in the dark to reach them with a light; especially the women.”
Through LuminAID’s Give Light, Get Light Program, and the support of customers around the world, we are able to provide worthy causes with lights to distribute to those in need, bringing a little light to some very dark times. With a LuminAID light and caring aid workers, a sense of dignity and independence is returned to refugees at a time when they might seem like unattainable luxuries.
In this edition of Notes From the Field, we check out the Rainforest Trust, an international conservation organization dedicated to creating protected lands around the world.