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Middle East

By the numbers

Syria

  • Supported 460 families with food, medical, and shelter needs for 2 months in Aleppo. This distribution will continue for 600 families for an additional 3 months from March – May 2013.
  • Supporting 5,000 families with food assistance for 5 months in the Qalamoun region.
  • Supported 391 families with cash support for an average of 4 months, and provided monthly food baskets to 555 families in Damascus, Homs and surrounding areas.
  • Providing locally purchased winter clothing to 85 families in and around Homs.
  • Distributing blankets (some locally purchased, some shipped from Canada) to 7,808 families in and around Homs, with 1,200 of these receiving hygiene kits, and 4,320 receiving infant kits. An additional 500 families will receive blankets, and 1,000 families will receive emergency lights for use during power outages.
  • An additional shipment sent at the end of February 2013 including 2713 comforters, 1,499 relief kits, 10,879 school kits, 6885 hygiene kits, 1310 infant care kits, 6 bales of fabric for distribution to displaced Syrian families.
  • Provided assistance for food, rent, and medicine to 75 families in Damascus.
  • Provided 50 families with medication in Damascus for 6 months.
  • 40 Syrians participated in 4-day trainings on humanitarian minimum standards.
  • 20 Syrian church leaders to participate in 4-day Sphere training.
  • 48 young Syrians participated in training to better identify and address trauma cases in their response work.
  • 6 young Syrian peace activists to attend Summer Peacebuilding Institute at EMU in May 2013. 

Jordan

  • Shipment and distribution of 4,141 relief kits, 11,310 hygiene kits, 19,198 blankets, 17,831 school kits, 240 infant care kits, and 30 teacher kits. To date, 2,984 relief kits, 8,160 hygiene kits, 17,589 blankets, 5,734 school kits have been distributed and 243 families have benefited from milk powder and diapers.
  • Peacebuilding training with 75 Muslim and Christian young adults and community leaders in 3 communities with host families and displaced people.
  • Distributed 989 comforters, 293 relief kits and 696 school kits to 240 Syrian families at the Caritas center in Husun.
  • 3,000 additional school kits and 14 teacher kits to be distributed at the new refugee camp near al Zarqua in the near future.
  • 2,750 pairs of winter shoes distributed to children at the Zaatari camp on Feb.5, 2013.
  • Plans for informal education support for 1000 children, youth, and adults from refugee families in Amman.
  • An additional shipment of 26,148 school kits sent at the end of February 2013 to assist vulnerable Jordanians and refugee populations in Jordan including Iraqis, Somalis, Sudanese, and Syrians. 

Lebanon

  • Distributed 8,485 blankets, 2,131 relief kits, 14,917 hygiene kits, 2,488 infant care kits, 9,649 school kits, and clothing to around 3500 Syrian refugee families.
  • Additional shipments in February including 1376 comforters, 1000 cartons of dried soup mix, 3615 infant care kits, 2374 Comforters/Blankets, 3740 school kits, 114 foam mattresses, 5 bales children’s clothing, 22 bales of adult sweaters.
  • Promoted sport tournaments, drama and other bridge-building activities for 350 children, youth and adults in high tension regions.
  • Supported a 3-day forum for dialogue that led to the signing of a Code of Conduct for nonviolence among youth representatives of all Lebanese political parties.
  • Supported 73 refugee children (aged 4-6) with kindergarten staffing
  • 250 children (aged 11-15) in East Sidon have access to psychosocial support.
  • Supported Sphere training for 70 NGO staff throughout southern Lebanon.
  • Planning Easter and summer camps for 100 refugee children per camp, and social events for their families.
  • Providing health awareness training to 50 Syrian refugee women. 
  • Supporting 270 elderly and children within refugee and displaced families with health education, medical support and milk.
  • Supported Cycling for Peace, a 170-km ride to raise awareness for non-violent solutions to the conflict; a regional conference: Building peace and trust: maintaining Christian-Muslim coexistence;and peacebuilding and conflict transformation trainings for 137 youth leaders from different backgrounds and political affiliations.
  • Responded in Southern Lebanon through trainings for agencies, including a coalition of 56 agencies which now has a strategic plan for coordinating their work and an emergency/contingency plan to help them respond better to increasing tensions. 

(Updated March 4 , 2013) 

Middle East crisis

Welcoming the stranger

Jameel Dababneh, Caritas Jordan’s emergency response coordinator, welcomes a young Syrian refugee. MCC partners with Caritas Jordan, one of the organizations that welcomes refugees, offers material resources and links them to services. (MCC Photo/J. Daryl Byler)

Read "Welcoming the stranger," J. Daryl Byler's perspective on how Caritas Jordan, an MCC partner, is heeding the words of Moses in welcoming Syrian refugees 

 


 

MCC material resources reach Syrian refugees

MCC Staff

AKRON, Pa. – As the violent conflict in Syria escalates, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) intensifies its efforts to help those affected. Four material resources shipments from Canada and the U.S. have reached the area for Syrian refugees and the communities hosting them.

To date, MCC has shipped 3,447 relief kits, 14,220 hygiene kits, 13,666 blankets, 17,160 school kits and 288 infant care kits to Jordan and Lebanon.

The number of Syrians entering Jordan each day has increased to as many as 2,000, according to MCC partner organization Caritas Jordan. Daryl Byler, an MCC representative in the region with his spouse Cindy, said the opening of the first refugee camps for Syrians is significant. “Previously, Syrians either stayed with Jordanian families or rented flats.” The Bylers are from Washington, D.C.

MCC’s response also includes distribution of food, medicine and fuel in the Syrian cities of Homs and Damascus, and increased support for disaster preparedness and conflict prevention activities in Lebanon, where there is tension and potential for the violence to spread. 

“The needs are urgent and the needs are growing,” said Bruce Guenther, MCC director of disaster response. “MCC is well positioned to respond but we cannot do this without the support of our congregations and the public. We are grateful for every gift.”

MCC encourages donations of money) and relief kits (information available from your nearest MCC office or mcc.org/kits/relief).

Mennonite Central Committee: Relief, development and peace in the name of Christ

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How your church can help

Syria Bulletin Insert

 

1. Please consider using this as an announcement in your bulletin:

When Syrian children get ready to return to school this fall, many will be carrying a weight much heavier than a backpack – memories of violence and worries about where they will live and what they will eat. Mennonite Central Committee is asking for contributions that will be used to lighten the burden of these children and their families by providing cash for rent, kits to meet basic needs, locally bought food and supplies as well as social and educational support.  You may donate online, mcc.org/middleeastcrisis or by calling 1-888-563-4676..

2. Show the video of Bishop Jean Kawak, calling churches to act. It is available for streaming or download here.

3. Use this information sheet. It is available for download as a poster.

4. Incorporate one of the prayers below into your worship.

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer: With one heart

Almighty God, we pray today for all people of the Middle East, who face a time of change and uncertainty. With one mouth and one heart, together with our brothers and sisters there, we pray that God would console those who have lost loved ones.

We pray for strength for the church in the Middle East, that they might not give up hope in spite of all the challenges that lie ahead, but would instead hold steadfast to the faith of their ancestors and remain rooted in their homes and homelands.  Safeguard their presence and invigorate their witness there.

We ask that people who have been driven apart by violence may come back to each other in love, tolerance, cooperation, and wisdom. We pray that changes in the region respect principles of justice, freedom, and human dignity.

Thank you for the challenges before us, Lord, as they present us with new opportunities to serve our neighbors. Give us each the courage to work for reconciliation and peace and to advocate all just causes. 

Our faith gives us a living hope ever incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us be witnesses to that faith, here and throughout the world. Amen.

This prayer was compiled by Sarah Adams, MCC representative for Lebanon and Syria, from recent prayers offered by church leaders in the two countries. (Feb. 21, 2012)

A responsive prayer for peace

Our Father in Heaven, holy is your name…

            … we come to you, in awe of your holiness, in awe that you long for us to come to you, bringing our deepest prayers before you.

Your Kingdom come…

            …reveal your Kingdom to us. Give us the courage to be ambassadors of justice and mercy, peacemakers here and around the world.

Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…

            …show us anew how to act justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with You, our God.

Give us this day, our daily bread…

            …feed the hungry, Lord, and for those of us who have enough to eat, give hunger for justice, for mercy, for peace.

And forgive us our trespasses…

            …forgive us our ignorance, our selfishness, and our inability to see the neighbour far away, the stranger near at hand.

As we forgive those who trespass against us…

            …break our hearts Lord, as your heart is broken. Fill our hearts, Lord, with mercy and compassion for all, regardless of race or creed or religion.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…

            …keep us from succumbing to the fear that hinders us from loving our enemies; help us seek truth beyond the mass media; deliver us from mistrust and hatred.

For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever…

            …You are God, holy and just, loving and merciful. Help us to love others as you have first loved us. Help us to shine a light on the injustices in our world. Help us to be perfect as you are perfect. Bring your peace to our hearts, to our minds, to our world. 

AMEN.

Written by Angelika Dawson, MCC B.C.

 

God of Compassion,

Hear the cries of the people of Syria,
Bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
Bring comfort to those mourning the dead,
Strengthen Syria's neighbors in their care and welcome for refugees,
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
And protect those committed to peace.

God of Hope,
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies,
Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,
And give us hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.

We ask this through Jesus Christ,
Prince of Peace and Light of the World,

Amen 

 

Source: Catholic Relief Services (used with permission)

 

 

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