For Mama Campaign

Hand in Hand for Aid and Development is proud to join @actformama 🧡

This Ramadan we’re launching a charitable giving campaign to support a healthier future for mothers🤰and babies👶 around the world!

Join us to do all we can #ForMama.

🌍 www.actformama.org

YES, SHE IS  ALIVE!

A Year After the Quake: Reflections on Loss, Recovery, and Resilience “Mays’ Courageous Journey to Healing”

Mays: A Tale of Hope and Resilience Amidst Tragedy

In the wake of a devastating earthquake that shook southern Türkiye and northwestern Syria to their core, one story of survival stands out amidst the rubble – the miraculous tale of Mays, a young girl who defied the odds and emerged from the darkness into the light of hope.

“A minute and a half altered the trajectory of our lives entirely. It’s been a year since the earthquake struck, yet its lingering effects persist” reflects Aqaba Al-Haddad (38), embracing his 4-year-old niece, Mays Al-Haddad.

Recounting the catastrophic event, he describes it as a nightmarish ordeal. “After 72 hours of relentless search through the rubble of the four-story building, rescuers reached the room where my mother and my brother’s family, including his wife and two children, were sheltering, only to find them deceased. On that fateful day, my brother and I embarked on our journey to work, striving to secure our livelihood. The arduous return to Armanaz consumed an entire day, the roads barricaded by the remnants of destroyed homes and congested with traffic bound for the afflicted areas. Our attempts to reach our families went unanswered, heightening our anxiety and panic, as we braced ourselves for the impending tragedy,” he said.

Mays Miraculously Survived!

“In the solemn aftermath of the earthquake, on the third day, we painstakingly freed my mother, my brother’s wife, and their daughter Maryam from the rubble’s grip. With heavy hearts, we tenderly laid Mays beside her departed sister, preparing them for their final rest. In the melancholic atmosphere enveloping us, a rescuer directed a beam of light onto Mays’ face as we braced for a shared fate. In a miraculous turn, Mays opened her eyes, eliciting a collective gasp of disbelief that gave way to tears of hope.” recounts Uqba.

Emergency services swiftly transported the child to Armanaz Surgical Hospital, operated by Hand in Hand for Aid and Development (HIHFAD) in collaboration with Malteser International and supported by the German Federal Foreign Office. Undergoing extensive tests and monitoring, Mays was diagnosed with herpes syndrome resulting from a rubble-induced foot injury, necessitating surgery at Aqrabat Hospital in northwestern Syria.

Over the course of seven surgeries and a challenging treatment journey, Mays’ father resumed work to cover the expenses, while her bond with her beloved cat became a source of solace amidst the trauma. Describing Mays’ psychological struggle post-disaster, her uncle emphasizes the need for both psychological support and physical therapy to aid her recovery.

Attending the Armanaz Physical Therapy Center, operated by Hand in Hand for Aid and Development and supported by Choose Love, Mays receives ongoing rehabilitation services tailored to her needs. As she progresses through four months of therapy, her determination and the expertise of the center’s physical therapists bring her closer to regaining mobility and independence. Reflecting on the importance of such facilities post-disaster, Mays’ uncle expresses gratitude for the center’s presence and the positive impact on his niece’s recovery. With hope for Mays’ full recovery and the restoration of affected lives, he emphasizes the collective need for continued treatment and support for all those impacted by the earthquake.

One year following the catastrophic earthquake, Mays and numerous other injured children continue to grapple with the lingering health and psychological repercussions of the disaster, compounded by challenges in accessing essential medical care and supplies. This tragedy underscored the critical importance of unified efforts and directed support towards medical facilities, which played a pivotal role in saving the lives of over 4.5 million individuals in northwestern Syria, including more than 2 million residing in camps, as reported by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Thus, the urgent imperative for both medical and psychological aid persists to provide crucial assistance to affected individuals and alleviate their suffering.

HiHFAD Achieves the CHS Certification: A Commitment to Accountability and Transparency

As we near the conclusion of 2023, we are delighted to share the exciting news! After over a decade of dedicated efforts and unwavering commitment to our mission, we are proud to announce that Hand in Hand for Aid and Development (HiHFAD) has been certified against the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability by the independent auditing body HQAI for our humanitarian, development, and advocacy endeavors. This monumental milestone symbolizes our steadfast adherence and dedication to upholding accountability, transparency, and, most importantly, our mission of improving the lives of those we serve.

#MakeAidBetter #Accountability #Quality #Advocacy

Our Remarkable Journey

Explore the Impressive Milestones Below

At HiHFAD, we have always upheld the values of accountability and transparency as the cornerstones of our work. These values are not just buzzwords for us; they are deeply ingrained in every facet of our organization. We believe that accountability and transparency are non-negotiable when it comes to working toward a better world. It all started when we looked at ways to improve our Accountability to Affected Populations and accountability to Partners and Donors. We immediately thought of CHS certification and HQAI in particular for the feedback we heard from the NGO Community. The organization’s aim was to be more efficient, improve systems, policies, and mechanisms, and move to the next level when it comes to the service we provide.

While obtaining CHS certification was not an easy feat but involved a comprehensive process, the Core Humanitarian Standards Audit is conducted through independent verification and certification against the CHS by an accredited, third-party auditor – currently this service is offered by Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI) and authorized by CHS Alliance. HQAI’s support was tremendous, including the grant we received, we worked closely with the HQAI Team and Auditors, who were very helpful and accessible and explained the whole process and the stages. The audit itself motivated the team, who saw it as a challenge to see the scores, and they were proud of their achievements so far; they also set themselves the task of working on any comments or areas for improvement as set by the auditors.

The depth of the audit, ranging from documents and desk review to staff, stakeholders and beneficiaries’ interviews, brought new aspects and dimensions, enabling us to see what we do from different angles and understand the commitments in depth as the latter are somehow interrelated and have some level of complexity in differentiating what exactly each commitment cover. The Verification Framework that was utilized through the audit is designed to ensure a consistent, systematic approach to assessing and verifying how the CHS is applied. It sets out indicators for the requirements (Key Actions and Organizational Responsibilities) under each CHS Commitment and Quality Criterion and contains guiding questions to inform each of those indicators. “CHS is about supporting local communities and local actors; working with local auditors made our job easier, given the level of awareness of the context and working environment.” quoted Mr. Essam Abdely -The HiHFAD Program Development & Grants Manager-.

This certification marks a significant stride in bolstering our commitment to delivering high-quality humanitarian interventions while firmly embedding Core Humanitarian Standards across our entire organization. It signifies our unwavering dedication to continually enhancing our accountability mechanisms and cultivating a culture of efficiency in humanitarian response.

We anticipate that this achievement will not only strengthen our partnerships and interventions but also reinforce our ability to provide humanitarian assistance with utmost accountability. Furthermore, it will empower us to develop a more holistic approach to elevate the organization, encompassing systems, policies, staff, and resources, thereby “will be an additional driver and motivation for us as an organization and as humanitarian workers to enhance and strengthen our humanitarian interventions and further scale up the conformity with CHS to the next level,” said Mr. Abdely.

Hand in Hand for Aid and Development's Response to the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza.

In the wake of a severe humanitarian crisis, the efforts of Hand in Hand for Aid and Development have become a beacon of hope for the people of Gaza. Working in partnership with the Egyptian Food Bank in Cairo,  a testament to the power of collective action and international cooperation in addressing urgent humanitarian needs.

The situation on the ground is dire: with over 1.7 million individuals, approximately 80% of the Gaza Strip’s population displaced, the call for aid cannot be overstated. HIHFAD and Egyptian Food Bank has become a hub of hope, where humanitarian assistance is prepared with diligence and care, ready to make the critical journey through the Rafah crossing to those who wait with bated breath for relief.

The pressing need for food in Gaza underscores the severity of the crisis. With widespread displacement, many families face challenges in accessing nutritious food, leading to an increased risk of malnutrition, particularly among children and the elderly. The provision of food aid, including essential staples, is a crucial pillar of support for these families, playing a vital role in maintaining health and resilience in such tough times.

The hardships are further compounded by the winter season. Essentials such as warm clothing, blankets, and heating equipment become vital in these colder months. At the same time, the healthcare system, already under immense pressure from the crisis, grapples with a significant lack of medical supplies and facilities.

But the spirit of humanity and generosity is ever-present in this mission. Each donation contributes towards healthcare, food, and essential warmth for the people of Gaza, making a significant difference in their lives.

Since 2020, HIHFAD has been actively engaged in Gaza, distributing essential items such as medical supplies, fuel, food baskets, and clean water. This assistance is vital in sustaining lives and providing some respite in the face of overwhelming adversity.

The journey towards recovery and stability is long, and the needs of the people are extensive. Each act of compassion and every contribution brings us a step closer to healing and rebuilding. Your support can profoundly transform lives and bring indispensable hope and relief to the people of Gaza.

Your donation, whether for lifesaving healthcare interventions or basic necessities, can be a lifeline for those most vulnerable in this crisis. 

We urge you to donate now, to be part of a collective effort that extends beyond borders, offering hope and tangible support to those who need it most.

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Empowering Change: Hand in Hand for Aid and Development at the 2023 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting

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We at Hand in Hand for Aid and Development are truly honored to participate in the prestigious Grand Challenges Annual Meeting held in Dakar, Senegal, from 8-11 October 2023. This annual gathering, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its Grand Challenges Partners, has become a beacon of hope for global health and development. It’s a platform that unites visionaries, innovators, and changemakers from around the world to tackle the most pressing challenges facing humanity.

Represented by our dedicated Health and Nutrition Programme Manager, Dr. Hussam Al Khellow, Hand in Hand for Aid and Development joined this remarkable event under the overarching theme of “Science Saves Lives.” This theme resonates deeply with our mission and commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of those most in need. Participation in the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting is a testament to our strong partnership with the Grand Challenges community. 

At the meeting, Dr. Hussam Al Khellow had the opportunity to engage in dynamic discussions, attend informative scientific tracks, and participate in thought-provoking roundtable sessions. These interactions allowed us to gain valuable insights into cutting-edge scientific advancements and build connections with individuals and organizations that share HiHFAD vision of a more equitable world.

We are proud to be part of a global movement that has supported over 3700 projects in more than 115 countries. The 20th anniversary of Grand Challenges milestone reflects the collective impact of our dedicated partners and unwavering commitment to addressing global health inequities.

Looking ahead, Hand in Hand for Aid and Development is excited about the future collaborations and partnerships that will emerge from our participation in the 2023 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting. We all believe that by working together, we can accelerate innovation, save lives, and make a lasting difference in communities worldwide.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Grand Challenges organizing agencies and community for this incredible opportunity and reaffirm our dedication to our shared mission of improving lives and creating a better world through science, innovation, and collaboration.

A Collaborative Field Visit: Strengthening Our Impact in Northwest Syria

We are pleased to have organized our collaborative field visit and welcomed Mr. Robert van den Berg, who serves as the Head of Emergency Response in Syria and Türkiye on behalf of our key partner, Stichting Vluchteling (SV). The senior management of HiHFAD, including Dr. Ahmet Akra, our Chief Operations Officer, and Dr. Muhammad Al-Abbas, Head of Programs and Development, along with administrative personnel and coordinators played a pivotal role in conducting this trip. During this visit, we had the opportunity to tour several facilities operated by Hand in Hand for Aid and Development (HiHFAD) and its valued partners. This allowed us to gain firsthand insights into the challenging conditions on the ground in northwest Syria, given the recent escalation and attacks specifically in the displacement camps.

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Our strategic partner SV has been given a comprehensive overview of our medical operations, healthcare information and archiving system, which begins at our primary warehouses and extends to the delivery of services at various medical and vital facilities which serve as lifelines for hundreds of thousands of civilians in the region. We have been particularly pleased to visit the Primary Healthcare Center in the town of Tuwame, which is supported recently by our partner organization SV. This visit reinforced the importance of our collaborative efforts and the shared commitment to making a positive impact on the ground and provided us with an opportunity to meet the dedicated medical staff there. Looking ahead, we aim to expand this partnership to encompass a wider range of services and additional areas, all geared towards meeting the diverse needs of the affected population in NWS.

For media inquiries, please contact: media@hihfad.org

#SyriaNorthwest
#EmergencyResponse
#PartnersInAction

Urgent Call and Efforts in Northwest Syria Amidst Escalating Violence

As the latest toll from the airstrikes that targeted several areas in Idlib, and its surroundings stands at 18 killed and 92 wounded, HiHFAD express profound alarm regarding the escalating violence.

Source: Local activists on social media

Our field medical teams and emergency operations have been mobilized to provide urgent assistance to the wounded amid the relentless bombardment in Syria northwest. 

Around the clock, field teams have been working to urgently respond to the displaced people in temporary shelters. However, efforts have been made to meet their immediate needs for food and emergency supplies.

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Yet again, displaced people seek refuge in new areas and continue to live in massive fear of ongoing direct targeting. It is worth noting that the majority of the displaced are children and women.

We fervently appeal to the global community and compassionate individuals worldwide to take swift action and extend their support. The people of Syria are enduring indescribable hardship, displacement, and a pressing demand for critical aid. Your contributions will empower us to promptly deliver life-saving assistance.

For media inquiries, please contact: media@hihfad.org

#IdlibUnderFire
#NorthwestSyria

The Urgent Humanitarian Crisis: Combating Malnutrition in North West Syria 

Over the past twelve years, the Syrian conflict has inflicted profound humanitarian suffering, with food insecurity emerging as the most pressing issue. In northwestern Syria, approximately 3.3 million civilians are grappling with starvation and deprivation, demanding immediate and extensive efforts to address this dire crisis. This blog sheds light on the escalating malnutrition crisis and the remarkable interventions undertaken to save lives in the face of overwhelming challenges. 

The Escalating Malnutrition Crisis: 

The 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) paints a grim picture, revealing a stark increase in People in Need (PIN) numbers across various malnutrition parameters starting in 2020. Chronic malnutrition has risen by 4%, Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) cases by 29%, and Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) cases by a staggering 44.7%. The situation is dire for Pregnant and Lactating Women (PLWs), with approximately 265,000 urgently requiring malnutrition treatment. Alarming data from the latest SMART survey exposes the suffering of 220,000 children under the age of five in northwestern Syria, battling severe wasting—a condition with life-threatening consequences. Even more concerning is the projection that 50,000 children will face severe wasting in 2023, risking their lives, especially when compounded by medical complications like cholera.  

The earthquake in February 2023 compounded the suffering in northern Syria and southern Turkey, resulting in extensive property and infrastructure damage. The subsequent proliferation of makeshift camps added to the hardships of camp residents who lost homes, possessions, and sources of income. These informal camps lack essential services and amenities, including healthcare facilities, exposing the population to health risks and diseases. The absence of healthcare facilities and the presence of pollution contribute to an increase in malnutrition among children. 

Saad’s Struggle: A Glimpse into Malnutrition Realities: 

Saad’s story portrays the harsh reality faced by countless children in northwestern Syria. Displaced from the southern countryside of Aleppo to the Deir Hassan camps in the northern countryside of Idlib, Saad confronts severe malnutrition amidst daunting living conditions. His family resides in a small tent, reliant on humanitarian aid to survive. This story represents one of many and is shared by many displaced individuals in camps across the region, where monthly aid falls short for larger families. Limited job opportunities and a significant population density increase further exacerbate their hardship, particularly for families led by women or children under 18 following the loss of the primary breadwinner. 

 Saad’s story is just one among thousands of children in northwestern Syria battling malnutrition, their lives hanging in the balance. Their stories serve as a reminder of the dire circumstances faced by displaced children and families in Syria.  

Hand in Hand for Aid and Development’s Response:   

Rapid Response Teams (RRT) at Hand in Hand for Aid and Development, supported by Japan Platform, are at the forefront of efforts to combat malnutrition. These teams track malnutrition cases, provide education, awareness sessions, and offer vital support to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and children under the age of 2 years old. Those facing severe acute malnutrition are referred to specialized hospitals. In the face of daunting challenges, these interventions offer hope and a lifeline to those most vulnerable. 

A Beacon of Hope: Hassan’s Recovery: 

Hassan Al-Khalif, a displaced child residing in the Bardakli camps, embodies resilience and hope amidst adversity. He successfully recovered from malnutrition and his health improved thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Rapid Response Team. The Hand in Hand for Aid and Development RRT team administered vital nutritional supplements and provided vital guidance and awareness to Hassan’s mother. Hassan’s case is just one story of the thousands of individuals being assisted by this Nutrition Project. Thanks to the support of our partners this project aims to support 20,328 pregnant and breastfeeding women alongside 43,560 children under the age of five in northwest Syria.  

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A Lifeline of Hope: Clean Water in Syria

Clean water is often taken for granted, yet it stands as the elixir of life, an inalienable human right, and a cornerstone for thriving communities. Beyond basic hydration, clean water catalyses empowerment and resilience within communities, creating a ripple effect of positive change. In this blog, we delve into the story of Hand in Hand for Aid and Development’s clean water initiatives in North West Syria.

Clean water is a fundamental need that transcends basic hydration. It plays a pivotal role in transforming communities, touching every facet of life. Each drop of clean water sets off a chain reaction, generating transformative effects that extend far beyond its source.

Throughout the months of June and July 2023, Hand in Hand for Aid and Development diligently extended its efforts to provide clean water to a population exceeding 40,000 individuals in North West Syria. An ongoing heatwave had a considerable impact on the region, making the provision of clean water even more critical. However, despite these significant endeavours, the imperative for clean water remains acute, encompassing over 40 camps that are currently in dire need of access to clean water.

Imagine life without clean water for drinking or essential medical purposes – a stark reality for thousands of families residing in camps in northwest Syria. Their survival hinges on water supply from tanks, highlighting the critical need for accessible clean water.

Uncle Hassan’s Story:

“We can’t comprehend how we continue to live under these challenging conditions,” expressed Uncle Hassan, a seventy-year-old man, reflecting on his situation and the hardships he endures alongside his elderly wife. Their journey of displacement began four years ago, leaving their village called Maarat al-Sayyid in the southern Idlib countryside of northwestern Syria. They traversed several villages and towns in the Idlib countryside in search of security and stability, which millions of Syrians have been deprived of for the past eleven years, ever since the war began.

Uncle Hassan continues, “Every humanitarian service offered to us alleviates a portion of the burdens that were once heavy on our daily lives. We hope that anyone who witnesses our struggles, now that we’re in the 21st century, an era marked by civilisations and progress, will not forget us and contribute to easing the weight of life’s hardships for these families who were displaced by the scourge of war.”

In response to this urgent crisis, Hand in Hand for Aid and Development launched an ongoing £1 water appeal. A single pound can provide a family with 1000 litres of clean water, a small contribution that can be the difference between life and death.

Hand in Hand for Aid and Development is unswervingly committed to turning the tide against this water crisis. Through innovative solutions and unwavering dedication, we are driving change across Syria. The transformation of lives is evident as we witness communities thriving under our interventions.

Clean water is a right that should know no boundaries. As we traverse the landscapes of Syria, we witness both the challenges and the triumphs, underscoring the essential need for clean water. Our journey continues, fuelled by your support. Together, let’s create a world where clean water isn’t just a dream but a reality that fosters hope, health, and thriving communities.