The photo of young Aylan Kurdi has focused world attention on the plight of refugees. His tragic death has shocked many and is a reminder that we are living amidst the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War.
Less well known are struggles of refugees with type 1 diabetes. Challenging at the best of times, diabetes is often a death sentence for refugees. Less well known than Aylan is the heartwrenching story of Raghad Hasoun. Raghad was a 11 year old Syrian girl. She died in her parents arms after smugglers tossed her insulin overboard into the Mediterranean Sea. As we know, without insulin a person with type 1 diabetes can die within days.
In times of crisis, people with type 1 diabetes must flee or perish. We at T1International want to share some concrete ways in which you can help, and possibly save, some of the many refugees living with type 1 diabetes around the world.
Ask Humanitarian Organizations to Make Diabetes a Priority
Sadly, some major humanitarian agencies still do not see diabetes as a priority. Emergency kits airlifted into catastrophes often do not include insulin or injection supplies. Unfortunately, in the middle of a disaster the needs of people with type 1 diabetes can be ignored. Before you donate to an organization, ask what they do specifically for people with diabetes. This will give you an idea of how your donation will be used. It may even open up a conversation between you and the organization (or within the organisation internally) to encourage them to think more about people with diabetes in emergencies. We would love to hear any feedback you get in response to asking the question.
Support T1International in Our Mission
T1International is working towards adequate access to insulin, diabetes supplies, medical care and education for all people living with type 1 diabetes. We are growing and need your help. We held our Insulin for Syrians fundraising appeal in the Summer of 2016 and raised almost £10,000 to support Syrians with type 1 diabetes in need.
You can speak out about refugees with type 1 diabetes by sharing one of the many stories on your social media accounts to help everyone understand the complex issues faced by those with type 1 diabetes around the world. You can also donate to T1International so that together we can support more people who are in dire situations by offering them resources and campaigning for real and lasting change.
You can judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable. The refugee crisis is a situation of acute vulnerability, especially for people with diabetes, and this is a chance for society to step up. No one with type 1 diabetes should die a preventable, premature and painful death. The time to act is now.