Yesterday marked the completion of my first week working full time with COHI as the new Director of Programs. I am so pleased and grateful to be able to be doing this work. Although I’ve been volunteering with COHI for many months, learning the ins and outs of the organization, our mission has taken on a new urgency for me now that it’s the main focus of my day. How blessed am I that I have all of my needs met so that I can spend the better part of my days trying to help others.
Sera arrived back from the middle east on Saturday, and I couldn’t wait to hear the news of what she had gleaned from the trip. She had barely had 24 hours to recover before we were having a cup of tea on her couch, going over the details. What had we learned about the needs of the Syrian refugees in Jordan? What were the camps like? What was life like for the families there? Where do we fit in? What can we do? When can we start?
The next weeks will be a flurry of meetings, discussions and brainstorming sessions. It will likely pass in a blur. But out of the storm we hope to emerge with a plan. There are some things we know. We want programming that speaks directly to the needs of these women and children – programming that is based on their voices – not our own. Our plan will include getting the word out to the world about the terrible humanitarian crisis that is building in Syria, Jordan and the surrounding countries. And we will continue to strengthen the relationships that started on this trip with partner organizations in Jordan and the region. We will move. We will take action. We will do our part.
What ‘our part’ looks like will be determined by many factors and some serious deliberation. It’s tough to learn about the struggles and the dangers that those families are facing – to see the pictures, their children, their lives – and not be able to just make it all better right now. We cannot do it all, and we cannot do it alone. There is money to be raised. There are more partnerships to be forged. We are one small player in a sea of many – and there are many, many thousands of women and children who need help. But in our small size there is strength. We can be nimble! We don’t have mountains of red tape to pass through before reaching the women we serve. And we can act fast – once we have a plan. And we plan to do just that.
Michelle Jones, CPM, LM
Director of Programs
Circle of Health International