March 13th, marks my birthday. Usually it’s a sombre affair, a quiet evening spent with close friends and family.
Online tons of messages adorn my social media accounts, keeping up with reading, replying and thanking everyone for their wonderful messages and sentiments is a full day’s job, but an absolute joyous and pleasurable one!
However, this year was an exception to the usual quiet ‘spending my birthday at home’, routine as I was bound to travel overseas. Nothing unusual with that routine, as I travel almost every few weeks out of the UK to the US, Europe, Asia and many other remote parts of world.
On this occasion I was heading out to Jordan, but not for a well deserved holiday, but for a well overdue humanitarian visit to the Al- Zaatari refugee camp. Located 10 kilometres east of Mafraq, it is officially the world’s largest camp for Syrian refugees.
According to the UNHCR over one and half million refugees are registered in Jordan, among them approximately 655,000 Syrians, 67,000 Iraqis, 15,000 Yemenis, 6,000 Sudanis and 2,500 refugees from a total of 52 other nationalities.
My trip was a fact finding mission as an ambassador of Fluqe Being Foundation, our human rights organisation. I was honoured to be part of a small team of activists that had the opportunity to visit one of the camps that was hosting thousand’s of refugees.
It was truly heartbreaking to see young children in bare feet running around the camp site, the elderly sitting out in the cold and mothers struggling to feed their young babies. It was evident that the NGO’s were completely overwhelmed and struggling with the immeasurable situation they were facing of keeping up with the hundreds of refugees entering the camp site on a daily basis.
It was a privilege to share and hear so many heartwarming and inspiring stories from people whom had such uplifting spirits even in such despairing circumstances. I will never forget the some of the experiences families shared with me of how they became displaced from their homes and countries all due to a war no one really understands.
Over the next two days, with my amazing support team from Fluqe Being, we were able distribute 500 blankets and essential food items which we had brought over from London, as a result of our month long donation drive back in the UK.
Before we could take account of everything around us, our time had unfortunately come to an end. The hardest part was leaving behind the so many new friends we had made here in the camps in Jordan. It was extremely sad to say goodbye and immensely difficult to remove oneself from what you had just witnessed over the past few days.
It was a birthday I will never forget for the rest of my life. The first thing I did on my return to London once I arrived home, was gave my parents such a large hug, I was full of emotions and truly grateful for all that we have and take for granted.
Thank you to my amazing team @fluqebeing for putting this surprise visit together on my birthday – Love you guys! #Fluqefamily