Our dear friend, Paul Hutchings, gave up his job to start the brilliant charity that we are donating to as part of our collaboration with Selfish Mother, Refugee Support. Working across several camps in Greece, the charity helps refugees who have fled their homes in war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. With a core belief that everybody has a right to dignity, they act quickly to improve refugee’s food security, wellbeing and opportunities. They also spend locally, helping to support the communities in the local areas.
As one can imagine, the families who live in the camps have many heartbreaking stories to tell. Some of the most amazing, and of course the ones that really struck a chord for us, belong to the new mothers. What should be a truly magical time, is tragically often a very traumatic experience for these courageous women. Some have made the dangerous passage across the Aegean Sea whilst heavily pregnant, or even with a tiny newborn. Others have given birth with the most basic medical assistance inside one of the camps.
As part of our ‘Journeys into Motherhood’ blog series, we asked Paul to interview a new mum in one of the charity’s camps. Read Ragida’s story below…
RAGIDA'S JOURNEY INTO MOTHERHOOD:
Ragida is 24 and her daughter Elena was born a couple of weeks ago by C-section in a Greek hospital. She is married to Moayyed, aged 28, and they have another son called Haji who is 1 year old.
They are from Raqqa (the main base of IS in Syria, now almost completely destroyed) where Moayyed was a stonemason and have been refugees for just over a year. The fighting and bombing was intense and getting worse so they had to leave when she was heavily pregnant with her son Haji.
They made the journey to Turkey in about 10 days and immediately crossed the Med in a dinghy with other refugees. (They were lucky because the Turkish coastguard was actively patrolling and preventing people from making the journey. Very few make it across on their first attempt and many of course don't make it at all).
Ragida said she wanted to make the journey while pregnant because her baby would be safer inside her and she was afraid that he would die if she was holding him. She had Haji by C-section just 4 days after arriving on Lesbos Island.
That was a difficult time and Haji was not well so after 15 days they were transferred to Athens where they stayed in an apartment for 7 months. They liked it there because they were in the city and made friends but they had to share the apartment with another family and had no privacy. So they came to LM Village about 5 months ago.
Because her first son was born by C-Section she was booked in to the local Greek hospital to have her daughter by Caesarian. That was a confusing and worrying time because she was there for 5 days and the doctors could not tell her when they were going to operate. After 3 days they fully prepped her for the operation and then postponed it for another 2 days. She is in pain following the operation but is not allowed to take painkillers and is unsure why that is. Despite all this confusion, she is doing well and Elena is healthy.
From the photos you can see what an adoring and caring mother Ragida is. We spoke to her in her home while she was resting in bed with her new baby sleeping in her lap. Her husband is very attentive and is not allowing her to do anything while she recovers from the birth.
If you would like to help us raise money for the thousands of refugees like Ragida and baby Elena, (and would also like a gorgeous little something for yourself), you can get one of our beautiful sweaters or baby playsuits from our Selfish Mother collaboration here > which are raising funds for this brilliant cause.
If you don't fancy a jumper but would still like to help, please head over to the Refugee Support website and donate what you can here >