Iline is but four hours old and already her mother is worried for her future. Defined by her birth in this desert camp far from her home, Iline is one of the newest refugees at the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan.
“I wish Iline had not been born here - this is not our home - and I did not want her to be a refugee” says her young mother, 16 year old Misreen. “Syria is our homeland, not this camp. I worry about what future she will have...”
Misreen fled Syria with her husband’s family in February this year. It was the dead of the night and, six months pregnant and carrying her one year old boy Amar in her arms, the journey was fraught with danger and stress.
Anxiously twisting her ornate gold wedding bands on her finger, Misreen explains that her husband is still in Syria. “I worry about him and I would like him to come and meet our daughter. She is so beautiful.”
Maternity in Za’atari
UNHCR estimates that between 10 and 12 babies are born every day in the various camp clinics. And as more women of childbearing age flee Syria and find refuge in the camp, the number of births will increase and with that the workload for camp midwives and obstetricians.
Misreen and her family have received essential support from UNHCR from the day they first arrived at Za’atari Refugee Camp.
From housing to communal wash facilities, food aid to blankets and kitchen sets, these maternity clinics are another example of vital services provided to refugees in Za’atari by UNHCR and our partners. Misreen is particularly grateful for the care she has received from UNHCR partner, Gynécologie Sans Frontières.
Volunteer midwife Alice Le Jeune (pictured right with baby Iline) said the delivery was difficult but fortunately there were no major complications - Iline is perfectly healthy and Misreen has already started breastfeeding her.
“I am grateful for the care we have received here. The doc tors and midwifes have been very respectful and my mother-in-law has been by my side the whole time,” says Misreen.
As little Iline starts to cry, Alice gently passes her back to her mother. Both midwife and mother are smiling and it is clear that moments like this give both refugees and staff much needed hope and joy.