Our founder Arwa Damon wins top media prize

INARA’s founder, Arwa Damon, this week won a Gracie - one of the top media prizes in the United States.

The Gracies, established by the Alliance for Women in Media, is an annual awards programme, that recognises the people in the media that represent the changing roles, issues, and concerns of women.

Arwa was nominated for her courageous work as a senior international correspondent for CNN. Arwa has spent over a decade reporting from a number of conflict zones, including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.

In her acceptance speech, Arwa dedicated the award to all of the women whose stories she has covered - who “don’t have the rights and freedoms that I take for granted.”

It was this first-hand experience of conflict and the harrowing impact that it has on children in particular that inspired Arwa to create INARA. She has previously said: “Reporting on war just wasn’t enough for me. Day in day out I would meet children who had been horrifically injured and scarred by wars that they didn’t understand or ever want to be a part of. I saw children falling through the gaps, that no one could help. This inspired me to do something. That was when the idea for INARA was first born.”

INARA provides life-saving and life-altering medical care for children from conflict areas who have catastrophic injury or illness and are unable to access treatment due to war. The work that we do fills the gaps in access to medical treatment which other NGOs or institutions cannot provide.

Our work does not compete with, but complements pre-existing medical support. A big part of our work is matching children to care that already exists. We have done extensive work mapping out what organisations are working within Lebanon and what their medical remit is. This strong network means that we can match children to the help they need when they don’t know who to go to in order to get treatment.

When the medical treatment does not exist or when no one can take on the case, we will ensure that the child gets the treatment they need to lead better lives.

Currently we focus on providing medical assistance to children from Syria, including Palestinians, who are the greatest group in need..

INARA's Programme Manager, said: “INARA wouldn’t exist today if it wasn’t for Arwa. In her time as a CNN journalist she recognised that children were not getting the medical treatment that they so needed. But it takes a brave person to recognise it and then do something about it.

“Her courage, drive and determination to help these children has meant that we’ve been able to do so many incredible things. We’ve stopped Elena from going blind. We’ve enabled Khaled to give his mother a proper hug. We’ve given Adnan a whole new lease of life and inspired him to never give up hope. This Gracie Award is a huge acknowledgement of Arwa’s incredible work. What really resonates with us here at INARA is her unwavering commitment to helping the most innocent victims of war: the children."