In 2017, Pythia International formed a partnership with NOVA Relief Center and Saranoni Luxury Blankets in a united effort to bring winter clothing and blankets to desperate Syrian refugees in the Middle East.
From their inception, Saranoni and Pythia held common corporate missions focused on connecting people from different backgrounds in meaningful ways. NOVA, meanwhile, had sponsored an annual winter clothing drive for several years that brought together charities like Helping Hand for Relief and Development and a group of local governments in Northern Virginia.
It was a perfect match allowing each of our groups to unite in serving people who needed our help.
While we were small in number, our little coalition shipped thousands of blankets and winter coats to a refugee camp in Lebanon. We also sent a film crew, hoping to capture the smiling faces of families receiving these beautiful, warm blankets. We hoped to use the video to tell their stories and encourage others to help.
But the actual experience surprised us. It was far different from what we expected. While the refugees were very grateful for the clothing, our team was overwhelmed with the harshness and loneliness in the camps. The adult refugees, their blank eyes staring into the distance, had given up hope. When civil war broke out in their home country, these doctors, scientists, and office workers lost everything.
Then we met their children. Playing and laughing, they were full of excitement. They didn’t let the dire conditions destroy their hope. While their parent’s faces were hollow with despair, the children’s eyes sparkled. They had not let go of their dreams. They hung on hope and their positive outlook inspired us.
One young girl we met drew beautiful pictures. On the days her family didn’t get enough food, she drew pictures of a meal. They pretended to eat the “food.” With only their imaginations creating full stomachs, she and her brother could fall asleep at night without the pang of hunger. Her story brought tears to our eyes.
We gave the girl a nickname—Malak, which means “angel” in Arabic. Malak’s story inspired us to want to do more. Our goal is to help give refugees throughout the world some simple tools that will help them rekindle their dreams and share their stories. Join us in keeping Malak’s dream alive.