Dr. Sayed: “We Find What is Right and That is How We Find Our Purpose in Life”
St. John Medical Center’s Dr. Eiad Sayed may not be able to stop the war in Syria.
But he is able to help children, one child at a time.
With that mission in mind, Dr. Sayed goes back to the war ravaged nation two and three times a year to assist refugees at the Zataari Camp on the Jordanian border.
“You have to find the good things that you can and think about them. We look at what’s right with this and we magnify it, and it is the children,” said Dr. Sayed last week from his offices at St. John Medical Center.
“This is what we do for the children. It is what people in missions work do. They find what is right and that is how we find our real purpose in life.”
Dr. Sayed has been travelling to the Zataari Camp for over two years now. He takes donated medical equipment, healthcare supplies and, most of all, hope. He has seen the camp swell from 15,000 refugees to over 150,000.
Every time he goes, he encounters a new form of heartbreak. Last summer, it was the story of young girls who rebels made of sport of shooting.
This time – in March – it was burn victims. Dr. Sayed puzzled over the cause of all the burns until he learned that lack of electrical service meant people were lighting living quarters with candles that set homesite and tents ablaze in the night.
The challenge fuels Dr. Sayed’s zeal to help. It is a feeling he says most relief workers share.
“We feel like we have known each other for life on the first day. You have a new family now. It is a giant wheel and we are all cogs in it,” said Dr. Sayed. “We are there to help the kids. The children are traumatized. It is a war and a war zone. The PTSD is everywhere. We help them one kid at a time, like Schindler’s List. Our mission is to treat them psychologically, to treat them physically and to help them reach their potential.”
Relief efforts have led to the establishment of the Maleki-Salaam Center there. “We can treat 30 kids for up to three months,” reports Dr. Sayed. “We teach them how to survive and how to feel secure. They have shut down psychologically, but we have connected them to psychological care and within a week we start to hear feedback. Most of the children are about 6 up to 14 years old.”
The challenge, said Dr. Sayed, is to save children’s minds before they are hardened for life.
“The most important thing is to teach them how to trust. I want them to know they have friends here overseas, that we are all human, brothers and sisters in the same humanity,” said Dr. Sayed.
“They have to learn by the third grade that we need to understand one another and not hurt each other. That is one reason we went the week of March 21, because it was Mother’s Day there. All the children were coming to us asking what we had in our pockets that they could give their mothers. You want to make them feel normal.”
As for the burn victims, Dr. Sayed reports there is a solution and it is simple: Solar night lights. They only cost $8 each and they save lives.
One fire that will never be put out, however, is Dr. Sayed’s burning commitment to help a nation and its children. “I can beat ISIS. I can beat Assad. I can beat Hitler – If I make the children feel safe and secure and educate them,” said Dr. Sayed. “You have to stay the course.”
You can make a donation to the cause of the Syrian refugees by visiting salaamculturalmuseum.wordpress.com/donations/
Or simply stop and talk to Dr. Sayed as he patrols the halls at St. John Medical Center on his professional mission here at home. He would love to hear from you.