MASON, OH (FOX19) - A group in the Tri-State is working to promote freedom and human rights in Syria.
The Syrian American Foundation in Cincinnati already sent one shipment of clothing, school supplies, and children's toys back home last winter. Now they're working to fill a new container, but say that until lately it has been difficult to explain the need.
They say people often didn't know what was happening in Syria while their own families lived in fear and uncertainty.
"They have been screaming for two and a half years," said Dima Almeniawi with the foundation. "They have been aching and weeping and no one was listening to them. I think it's about time people know what's happening in Syria."
"I believe God put me here for a reason that there's something I can do still even though I'm away from my family and my country," added Dr. Maram Khabbaz.
Both Almeniami and Dr. Khabbaz have lived in the United States for over ten years. While they and their children are safe – it simply isn't enough. They feel a responsibility to be the voice of those still back in Syria, but they also share a desire to be the arms and legs of hope with the help of neighbors. Thursday friends from Morocco and Palestine helped the effort by filling boxes.
"Sometimes you cry until you think there are no more tears and then that's what makes you work. You say 'If I cry, I'm not helping. It's not going to solve the problem, it's not going to ease their suffering'. You pray and you work," Almeniawi tells FOX19.
Currently they have over 60 percent of the filled boxes they need to make the shipment which will likely take six weeks to deliver.
"We are just trying to ease the suffering of our people," Almeniawi explained.
"I want to put a smile on somebody's face. Maybe a child there. They're still children," added Dr. Khabbaz.
They hope their neighbors here in the United States will soon join in their effort to end the suffering.
"The distance is far but we are still human. We have the same feeling," Dr. Khabbaz said.
"Finally people are starting to get the message that somewhere people are being killed, and we have to do something," Almeniawi told FOX19.
Dr. Khabbaz says they aren't asking the United States to get involved in a war, but simply want help bringing international pressure and aid.
When they get all the boxes filled, they'll be sending them to Turkey where many refugees have fled.
Clothing, toys and school supplies can be dropped off at the Clifton Mosque: https://cliftonmosque.org/