Imagine only ever knowing life in a refugee camp. Imagine not knowing what it’s like to have your own home, to go to school, or to feel safe and secure.

Well, this is “normality” for five-year-old Mariam*.

2020 IRUSA | Mariam's case study

Born with Down’s Syndrome and into a life of poverty, Mariam has spent her entire life in a refugee camp on the border between Syria and Lebanon.

After war broke out in Syria, Mariam’s parents and older siblings fled their country in search of refuge, security, and survival.

Mariam’s older brother Ahmad* was just ten years old when he had to leave home with his family. Now, Mariam, Ahmad, and eight other siblings still live in the refugee camp in abject poverty. Their father has to live apart from them in order to work in another city to try to secure an income—he’s only able to visit once in a while.

Despite his efforts, the family is barely surviving. They even have to tear up old clothes and burn them just to try to keep warm during the frigid nights.

Only 5-years old, Mariam has already faced many challenges. She often cries as she’s bullied because of her physical appearance. Neither Mariam or any of her siblings have ever been to school because it’s just too expensive.

And if all of this wasn’t difficult enough, the family has been struck with another misfortune: Mariam’s mother was recently diagnosed with cancer. And with the lack of access to proper food, her physical health continues to deteriorate. Yet, desperate to provide for her family, she works on a local farmland, toiling from 4 am to 3 pm every day, earning just under $4.90 for an entire day’s work.

2020 IRUSA | Mariam's case study

Even with the immense circumstances surrounding her, Mariam spirit shines bright, and we are so grateful, alhamdulillah, that Islamic Relief donors have been able to help her family and others in her camp.

Islamic Relief has been providing critical aid to Syrian children, including Mariam and her siblings, inside Syria and in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey throughout the nine years of conflict.

Through the support of our donors, we are able to distribute food packages in Mariam’s camp and across the region. And throughout the month of Ramadan, Mariam and her family will continue to receive food aid to help sustain them. We are also working to help Mariam’s mother receive the medical care she so desperately needs.

2020 IRUSA | Mariam's case study

We envision a better world for children like Mariam and for her family, and we are so grateful that you are working with us to make it a reality.  Thank you for being a part of this movement.

And now, as we continue through Ramadan and beyond, please help us continue to provide Mariam, her family, and other families like theirs with the relief they so critically need.

Donate and help save lives.

*All names have been changed for child-protection purposes.

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