Climbing for Syrian Women
Mobilizing Syrian Women Civil Defense
Hello my name is Lena and on February 14th 2015 I will attempt to reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro— the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding peak in the world.
I am climbing this 5,895 meter-high mountain for a cause that is very personal to me. My every step up Kilimanjaro will be for Syria and for my two elderly grandmothers there. As a Syrian American, I am not able to go inside the country to help, but I am able to help young Syrian women like me who can.
These young women are the volunteers of the White Helmets inside Syria. They are search-and-rescue workers and medics responding to bombings and chemical attacks. Together we share a vision: to restore and maintain hope in Syria. They work inside the country on the founding principles of “impartiality, humanity and neutrality”, underpinning a promise to all Syrians that the White Helmets are there to provide safety to everyone in a time of need, regardless of what side of the conflict they stand. From now leading up to my climb in February, I am asking for your support in joining the mission of raising awareness and saving lives in Syria by helping these White Helmet volunteers.
Despite Syria being one of the most dangerous places on earth, the White Helmets continue to operate and risk their lives to save others. Some days there are more than 50 bombs and mortars that land in Syrian neighborhoods. Many of these bombs are rusty barrels filled with nails and explosives, and sometimes are also filled with lethal chemicals, that are dropped from helicopters onto homes, schools and hospitals.
The women volunteers are vital to saving lives during some of these tragedies, especially the lives of women and girls. In the most conservative areas of Syria, the communities and women themselves prefer being rescued by other women. This is usually the case following major blasts where clothes are ripped-off upon impact. Bare women have refused to be seen or even saved by male volunteers from the White Helmets in their time of need.
For this reason the White Helmets have led a campaign to bring more young women civil defenders on board. Since September 35 young and courageous Syrian women have been trained in search-and-rescue and medical aid to save other women and men, and now, there is a total of 56 women in Syria helping. These women are already saving lives, but are in need of some basic necessities to help them reach more people. Currently, these women are in need of 6 ambulances in Syria. YOU and I will be attempt to provide them with ONE of those ambulances for the cost of USD $15,000. (Please visit my Indiegogo page to support: http://igg.me/p/climbing-kilimanjaro-for-syrian-heroes/x/9033784).
Having more women as civil defenders— trained and on the streets of Syria – hits close to home for me. With my conservative grandmothers inside Damascus, I want to know they will be safe and rescued if they were in a time of need. Getting more Syrian woman involved in protecting and defending Syria, working alongside our Syrian men, will shape the future of the country and the role of our women in it.
With each small step we take together, through donations or sharing this story, we are closer to reaching the top of the mountain, whether its Mount Kilimanjaro, or more so the challenge of helping Syrian White Helmet women save more lives and restore the country.
If you would like to follow our hike in February, you can follow us on this blog. We will also be updating this site weekly leading up to the climb with training updates and news from the women White Helmets.