Stuff You Need to Know: A Very Simple Item Syrian Refugees REALLY Need

You may recall that a previous “Stuff You Should Know” featured a very comprehensive, brief video about the refugee crisis.

I was scanning through the ever-growing list of news summary emails from the Washington Post, when I came across the ultimate “clickbait” headline – “The Incredibly Simple Household Item Syrian Refugees Really Need – And the Campaign to Get It to Them.”

Turns out that item is Vaseline! As the author of the article notes:

“Samer Jaber and Grace Bandow, both doctors, returned from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where tens of thousands of displaced Syrians have settled after escaping merciless violence in their war-torn country, and wrote a joint essay about their experience. In the article, published by The Washington Post in June 2014, they revealed that countless refugees they treated needed relief from severe skin problems that could be remedied by simply applying Vaseline…

“Prior to going on my first mission, I didn’t expect that skin health would have such an impact on the daily lives of the refugees,” Jaber said. “When you think of someone living as a refugee, you think they need food, water, and shelter. You see explosions and war on the news and you think they need surgeons and trauma care. That is certainly all true, but the harshness of the environment and the difficult living conditions exacerbate minor skin conditions, oftentimes affecting the refugees’ abilities to work, go to school or take care of their families.”

Although I didn’t think about this need before reading this article, it makes perfect sense to me. I know how dry, cracked and painful my hands get this time of year if I don’t put lotion on my hands at least once daily. And unlike a displaced person in a refugee camp, I have the means at hand to remedy simple, yet painful skin conditions.

Huge kudos to Vaseline for not only spearheading a donation campaign through sales of their product, but also for launching the great website illustrated above.

So, we have food drives, sock drives, how about a Vaseline (or general hand lotion) drive too!

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