In Helmand, Even Pain Has Become a Luxury

Fair Observer, July 28 2016

Lashkar-gah. Hospitals are tough. The disinfectant smell trapped inside these walls, along with that of plastic furniture, would flood anyone with a sense of anxiety. Yet here in Helmand, one of the most troubled provinces in Afghanistan, there is no space for laments and sorrows. “My job is to manage the pain, from the beginning, to the middle and after. Afghans never complain about pain. We have a ward full of kids, and you never see them crying,” says Joseph Rumley, the anaesthesiologist working with Emergency—an international medical charity who provide free health care to the victims of war in the province.

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Makeshift Syrian schools struggle in Turkey

Middle East Eye, 23 April 2014

MARDIN, Turkey – It is 7am and no cafes or shops are open in the old historic centre of Mardin, a little city on the southeastern Turkish-Syrian border. There are small children waiting on a street corner for the bus coming to pick them up.

The driver speaks Arabic, Kurdish and Turkish – something that is quite common in a region of old Mesopotamia, which has been a base for different ethnicities for centuries. He drives down roads filled with new, modern buildings, towards a neighbourhood still dominated by old stone houses. These areas were uninhabited for almost 20 years, but were recently become crowded as thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the country’s devastating civil war seek shelter there.

After almost 20 minutes, the bus stops in the middle of a desolated area. It is 8am, and a school bell starts ringing. Around 300 children are shouting and running are heading to class, some ask teachers where to go, others remain in the halls, playing with their friends. Many are already sitting diligently in the classroom, eager for the lesson to start. The mood, like in any other school, is expectant, but it soon becomes clear that this school faces a special situation.

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Mindful Aid

Majalla, April 22 2014

Doctor Wissam works at the Crisis Intervention Center for Psychosocial Trauma in Kilis, a Turkish border town and well-travelled crossing point for both Syrian refugees and contraband dealers. Wissam is a Syrian psychiatrist who used to work at the Ibn Sina Hospital in Damascus before the violence erupted. He explains that the Ibn Sina, along with the Ibn Khaldoun hospital in Aleppo, were the two main psychiatric hospitals in the country, but both have now been destroyed in the conflict. Hundreds of patients that were treated there, he added, have now been displaced around the borders.

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