"Her name is Shehed. She turns 8 next week and has the exact same birthday as my daughter who is turning 7. She has only faint memories of her father who was killed 5 years ago. She can see Syria from her tent but doesn't remember what it was like living there. She proudly recites Surah Al Fatiha but can't read otherwise. She doesn't have access to pretty princess dresses or toys. Her clothes have holes in them, her teeth are decaying, and her coughs are deep. But she's one of the most beautiful children I've ever met. She's sweet and compassionate despite the cruelty she's faced. She still dreams of a bright future like other children. Her last words to me after such a short time, "take me with you." The hardest thing in the world about visiting these places is saying goodbye. You get to return to the comfort of your home while they continue to wonder if they'll ever have one again. When the sun sets and everyone retreats to their tents to try to protect themselves from the bitter cold, you get back in the truck and return to your comfortable bed which awaits you. You get to live to speak of your experiences of a few days, while they remain voiceless with no one to hear of their tragic life stories. It hurts you knowing that you can't save them all.
Cry for them. Smile at them.
Be their voice. Tell their stories.
Do what's in your capacity. And invite others to do what's in theirs."
- Omar Suleiman