Posted by Margaret Lowry on November 18, 2015 in Blog

As the Syrian refugee crisis has grown to become the worst of its kind since World War II, American television screens and social media feeds have been inundated with stories of suffering and resilience. Over 12 million Syrians are in immediate need of humanitarian assistance, and the staggering need of the refugee community is apparent in every story. A group of women in Toledo, Ohio have channeled that need into action.


Alongside a group of friends, Linda Amrou, Reem Subei, and Jihan Saie created Bodies Before Borders, a local initiative to support children affected by the refugee crisis focused on raising funds for aid and awareness of the crisis through their #BodiesBeforeBorders social media campaign. 

For Reem, the decision to form the group was personal, “I have many friends and family members - I am Syrian American - whoare at the heart of the refugee crisis and whose families have been divided as each member fled Syria… their struggle left me feeling helpless as my attempts to help out felt meager and miserly.”


Realizing that they would be able to reach more people by partnering with a national organization, and searching for a way to directly aid children affected by the conflict, Reem’s group reached out to Save the Children, who offered to partner with them through a page on their website. At the same time, the women launched their social media campaign, asking for folks to post pictures of themselves with a personal statement about what every child deserves using the hashtag #BodiesBeforeBorders

A bright example of compassion at a time when many in the U.S. are closing doors to beleaguered Syrian refugees, Bodies Before Borders also works with local groups in Toledo that cater to the basic needs of refugee families in the area and organizes drives to send food, clothing, and medical supplies to refugees overseas.

“I hope the campaign encourages people to donate more and remember that every extra dollar in their hand can translate into a loaf of bread for a hungry child or a blanket for a shivering elder man,” Reem explained, “Of no less importance to me, is the hope that people's kindness will stimulate them to learn more about refugees and speak out about the underlying causes of this unfortunate reality and ask their Representatives to take more responsibility for it.”

To learn more about #BodiesBeforeBorders click here.