Since November 2015 no aid organisations or NGOs have been able to cross over to Rojava and Kobane. A few days ago a small group of very determined people who are the founders of the Free Burma Rangers (FBR) managed to cross into Rojava despite significant barriers. The FBR consisted of the Eubank family, including their three children. When we met they asked me about what they thought was the most important issue facing the community and they specifically asked for stories.
I mentioned the situation of the children, especially orphaned children; and the situation of Arjin and her courage and strength in being only 11 and yet carrying the heavy burden of caring for her four smaller siblings after losing both her parents to the massacre that occurred.
in Kobane in June 2015. We organised the next day to meet the children and the cousins. Karen was really fantastic with the children who had a lot of fun singing and learning new songs, creating paper origami frogs and then doing a paper frog race outside in the yard. Then everyone lined up to get their shoe size as Karen and the team had brought over clothes, shoes and medicine for the community and the children had even more fun finding their shoe sizes and getting fitted out into new clothes. The day ended with more presents and toys handed out to the children.
Most people wonder about the level of support and solidarity for Rojava and especially Kobane. Yet the majority of support, funding and aid has come from individuals or smaller organisations and associations; Ironically, major international organisations, the big shakers and movers, have not shown a quarter of the determination and will that many of these smaller organisations, like the FBR have shown in finding a way to cross over and help. Many have thrown up their hands and have moved on too easily. While Kobane and Rojava has managed to solider on despite the border issues and lack of aid, it is nevertheless an important part of international solidarity movements to provide support and aid where necessary, especially in the area of medicine.
There is also a strong sense of disappointment in Kobane in the failure of the international humanitarian organisations to help in the post conflict rebuilding and support for the community here, especially since the feeling is that the fight against Daesh was an effort on behalf of humanity.
For this reason it is incredibly heartening and a great boost for local morale to see outside organisations surmounting great odds, crossing the border, smashing the humanitarian embargo and supporting the community here. Even then the FBR had only been allowed by the KRG to take one truck out of the four truck of aid that they had prepared for Rojava. Nevertheless, this demonstrates that where there is a will there is always a way!