Save The Children in Greece

There is noth­ing left in Ir­aq for us, no schools, no su­per­mar­kets, no food. Some or­gan­iz­a­tions gave us food some­times. Last year, we had to hide in the moun­tains for five months and some planes flew over­head and dropped food down, but it was nev­er enough. We were al­ways so tired, so hungry, so thirsty.” ~Rukia

Rukia (whose name has been changed) is a 39-year-old moth­er, trav­el­ing with her two daugh­ters, 15 and 17, and mem­bers of their ex­ten­ded fam­ily, in­clud­ing four young chil­dren (2-year-old Zain­ab, 3-year-old Dleen, 5-year-old Alaa and 10-year old Noora).

Mem­bers of a highly per­se­cuted minor­ity, Rukia and her fam­ily fled vi­ol­ence from armed groups in Ir­aq. They were forced to live in the moun­tains for five months last year dur­ing peri­ods of in­tense fight­ing.

“The jour­ney to Greece was really hard. I thought we would all die in the boat. It filled up with wa­ter and sank and we were in the wa­ter for twenty minutes be­fore someone saved us. It was the cold­est I have ever felt.” ~Rukia
Rukia and her fam­ily are hop­ing to re­unite with fam­ily liv­ing in Ger­many. Mo­bile phones have be­come their life­line, a means of con­nect­ing and com­mu­nic­at­ing with their loved ones and get­ting in­form­a­tion.

Save the Chil­dren gave Rukia a WakaWaka sol­ar flash­light and smart­phone char­ger to help keep her re­main con­nec­ted to her loved ones. The or­gan­iz­a­tion is provid­ing WakaWaka flash­lights and char­gers to refugees through a tar­geted dis­tri­bu­tion, to en­sure the sol­ar devices reach the most vul­ner­able chil­dren and fam­il­ies caught in hu­man­it­ari­an crises.

“We use [mo­bile phones] to talk to our fam­il­ies,” said Rukia. “I talk to my hus­band about the jour­ney we’re tak­ing, let­ting him know that we’re all safe. I use the in­ter­net to find out about the news and what is hap­pen­ing, to get in­form­a­tion. Some people in my group make short videos to send to their fam­il­ies so they can see their faces. My chil­dren use the phone all the time to talk to our fam­ily and their dad. It’s been a really long time since we’ve seen our fam­ily who are in Ger­many.”

Save the Chil­dren will dis­trib­ute 1,100 WakaWaka Power+ sol­ar flash­lights and char­gers. The Power+ can be used to charge both mo­bile phones and tab­lets through a USB con­nec­tion. They can be charged by sol­ar power, but also by a main power sup­ply for later use. The device’s power­ful flash­light can be used as a light source at night in refugee camps, which of­ten have little or no light­ing, or as a guid­ing light as they travel at night along the trans­it route, which in­cludes walk­ing through fields and across bor­ders in pitch black. “I really needed something like this char­ger,” said Rukia, “so I can keep in touch with my fam­ily.”

Save the Chil­dren has been work­ing work­ing on Les­bos since Septem­ber 2015 and is now op­er­a­tion­al in Ido­meni, Sam­os, Chios, Kos and Ler­os. The or­gan­iz­a­tion has reached over 230,000 refugees to date, in­clud­ing more than 65,000 chil­dren.