Message from President & Co-Founder Arwa Damon
I was recently talking to a friend of mine who asked, “Isn’t it hard to spend so much time with INARA’s children, given all their injuries?”. It’s a question I often get, along with statements about how hard it is for some to look at the photos of our children, especially those with facial scars. In those moments, I wish that I could wave a magic wand and let everyone meet our children; because once you spend time with them you quickly realize that you don’t SEE the scars anymore. They don’t define the child. Instead, it is the sparkle in their eyes, their little hand in yours, their ability to smile despite all they’ve experienced, their sense of humor, and their curiosity about the world. Everything that makes them a child.
But the reality of the world we live in is that society will, by and large, continue to allow their scars, and their past, to define them. It will push them into the shadows, ostracize them for looking and being “different”. We can change that. We do change that.
That’s what you do through your support and for that I am eternally grateful. It is you – your individual contributions – that make up the bulk of our spending. All of what we receive through online donations goes exclusively to the care of our children. You have kept these children’s futures alive, filled with possibility.
In 2021 we came together in other extraordinary ways.
Our Ramadan and Holiday fundraisers were smashing successes. We partnered with ZOX bracelets and they designed a “Ray of Light” bracelet for INARA to raise awareness of our work. We were runners up for the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support from the Big Heart Foundation, which came with a grant. We’ve even started to dip our toe into the NFT (non-fungible token) world, which I’ll admit to knowing nothing about and not really understanding, through a collaboration with DCB World. We launched our “Summits for Smiles” fundraising campaigns with me hiking up Mt Elbrus’s summit in Russia where I was once again reminded of the power of an outstretched hand; symbolic of all that we do in many ways for INARA’s children and their families.
2022 is off to a dark start, darker than we could have imagined. It’s not just the horror that is happening inside Ukraine and to Ukrainians, but also how that war has rippled out, impacting populations well beyond Europe.
And yet, as I write this, while I do find it hard to be hopeful about our collective future, I remain positive as I think about what we have the power to achieve and the impact that we can have on individual children’s lives. At the very least, while we can’t change their past, we can always fight for their futures.
INARA’s Medical Program
We started our medical program at INARA to provide conflict impacted children of all nationalities with the treatment they need. We provide an array of different medical services that our target population might need: From laser treatment and surgeries for their burn injuries, to prosthetic eyes and hearing devices, and so many more life-changing interventions.
Today, this program has grown to be a necessity in the lives of these children, seeing that from the moment we started this program until today, we have helped change the lives of 512 children.
The number of referrals we get each year from UN agencies and other INGOs is on the rise, and so is the number of people who learn about us and call us themselves. In 2021 alone, we’ve had 123 new cases that were referred to us start their treatment successfully. Additionally, we’ve had 608 medical follow-ups and provided 422 medications to children in dire need of medical treatment.
With the help of our case work team and collaborating with our partner doctors, 195 medical interventions were successfully made in 2021 bringing children a step closer towards healing!
A LOOK BACK AT INARA's 2021
Age range of beneficiaries receiving INARA’s assistance:
Breakdown of injuries by cause:
Mental Health Program
INARA’s in-house mental health program was launched in 2020 in Lebanon and has been a huge success as we are one of the few NGOs in our area of work that offer such services.
We launched the same program in our Turkey offices in 2021, seeing the growing need for such a program among the population we treat.
Having worked closely with children for over 6 years, we understood that for children who have witnessed the horrors of war and conflict, treating their physical injuries will never be enough, as the trauma of the past will follow them around.
Our in-house mental health program is run by mental health professionals specialized in child and adolescent psychology and psychiatry as well as pediatric trauma. Our Child and Adolescent psychiatrist conducts an assessment to determine the child’s needs. Treatment could include different forms of therapy, medication, etc.
After that, our Child and Adolescent Psychologist also works closely with the parents to help them understand their child’s diagnosis, and provides the child with the environment they need to overcome the trauma they have been through. Children can stay in this program for as long as they need.
INARA & ZOX
In August 2021, INARA started collabo-rating with Zox and was able to raise $35,822 in funds to help treat conflict impacted children. Working with Zox, we were able to design a bracelet called “Ray of Light” as we hope to be a ray of light in the lives of these children in need. When purchasing this unique bracelet Zox was donating 100% of profits from sales to us! www.zox.la
INARA X The Big Heart Foundation X NAMA Women
This year, we were able to partner up with The Big Heart Foundation, a global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees as well as NAMA Women, an organization that works towards a better inclusion of women and closing the gender gap.
Through this partnership, INARA was able to provide lifesaving medical and mental health care to 24 girls.
This partnership allowed us to grow, help more conflict impacted children and increase our visibility, allowing us to better showcase our work to a growing number of people around the globe. With their help, we were able to cover 24 assessments and 58 mental health sessions to girls in dire need of help. Most of these beneficiaries showed great signs of improvement with 6 of them who didn’t need further mental health support. Out of the 24 girls under this grant, 22 reported feeling more empowered because of the reduction of their injuries and/or the improvement of their mental health!
INARA and Theory
In November 2021, INARA partnered up with Theory to raise more funds and provide conflict impacted children with the treatment they need.
Arwa Damon, INARA’s Co-Founder alongside Amanda Seyfried, one of INARA’s board members both hosted an event at Theory’s Meatpacking Flagship store that was followed by a shopping event where 10% of profits went to us!
Additionally, for the month of November, Theory donated 10% of their profits from online sales to INARA.
INARA and Orienthelfer e.V.
In 2021, we were lucky enough to receive a grant from Orienthelfer e.V. covering mental health to support children of any nationality who were in the area and were affected by the Beirut port explosion.
During this project, INARA addressed the problems of lingering mental health trauma these children were facing as a result of what they experienced.
Through this grant, we were able to provide our specialized services to 65 children from the target population.
Colors For Furat
Furat’s family fled the war in Syria, only to be met with another tragedy when their house was burned to the ground. Furat sustained severe burns to his body and spent months in the hospital in agonizing pain. His entire abdominal area and lower body were severely injured impeding his movements and preventing him from standing up straight, or going to the bathroom without pain. Due to his injuries, he suffered from continuous infections and needed immediate medical attention.
Furat was even terrified of adults and white coats, associating them with hospitals and painful procedures.
Thanks to people’s support and donations we were able to collect the money Furat needs to cover his full treatment and turn his life from agony and trauma, to healing and happiness! Through your donations, we were able to help Furat put all of that behind, and focus on his recovery, and what lies beyond.
Summits For Smiles
MOUNT ELBRUS: Hiking up 31Km to raise $31,000 for INARA
INARA has launched a new fundraising event series called Summits for Smiles, where individuals raise money and smiles for INARA by summiting peaks and mountains around the world.
On August 6, 2021, Arwa Damon started her 7 day hike up Mount Elbrus, one of the Seven Summits and highest Mountain in Europe to raise $31,000 aiming to help us support our medical and mental health programs. This arduous journey takes days to complete but is nothing compared to what our children go through.
At the end of her eventful journey, Arwa was able to get to the summit. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to collect $39,698 exceeding our initial goal and drawing even more smiles on the faces of conflict impacted children waiting for their next surgery!
At INARA, we will continue to do everything we can to bring life-altering change to the lives of conflict impacted children. You too can participate in a summit for smiles and help us change lives!
There was a point when I was convinced I would not be able to take another step forward. A hand reached out to me, someone helped me wiggle back into my backpack. I made it to the summit, but I did not make it alone. None of us can reach our summits alone. And that is what we do for INARA’s children. We extend our hand to help them up, we support them medically and mentally, to allow them to reach their summits.
on her journey up Mount Elbrus.
During INARA’s Ramadan campaign for 2021, INARA collaborated with the inspiring young artist and star of The Voice kids Shireen Saad who wrote the song called ”Ray of Light”, a dual song in both Arabic and English.
Check out the song “Ray of Light” here
We used the song to kick off our
The Wish Lab!
Thanks to all of you who never fail to help us, we were able to make a huge potion and collect a total of $240,718 exceeding our initial goal and giving conflict impacted children their ultimate holiday wish- to be healed.
With this amount we were able to cover the treatment costs of 30 of our conflict impacted children, restoring hope in their hearts and giving them a gift they were longing for their whole lives.
* All online and individual donations go towards our program costs.
* All operating costs are covered by our board’s donations and by a portion of any grant we receive.
Bigger Ideas, More Reach!
A huge part of what we do is tell the children’s stories to the whole world. No matter how harsh their reality is we try our best to be as transparent as can be when telling their stories, in hopes of raising awareness and collecting funds which will allow them to get treated.
Our work on social media platforms, our visibility and image are of the utmost importance, since nearly 80% of our donations come from online fundraising.
To know more about the work we do you can follow us on our social media platforms.