Syrian and Iraqi refugee response in Jordan: Orthodox Initiative and MECC

Syrian and Iraqi refugee response in Jordan: Orthodox Initiative and MECC

Written by Ms. Wafa F. Goussous, Director for the office of the President for the Eastern Orthodox Family, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, Middle East Council of Churches, and Director of The Orthodox Initiative for the Churches in the Middle East; and Mr. Nathaniel Bailey, Media and Communications, and Global Ministries Global Mission Intern

Summer has made it to the Kingdom of Jordan. This past week has been warm, with temperatures reaching the mid 30s-Celsius. Schools are beginning to prepare for summer, Ramadan is around the corner, and everyone is settling into new routines that come with the change of seasons.

The spring of 2015 has been busy for our team at the Orthodox Initiative and the Middle East Council of Churches in Amman Jordan. Through the Easter Season, we carried out a variety of projects. These included food and clothing voucher distributions to Syrian and Iraqi refuges being hosted through out the country to help with Easter celebrations. We also undertook a project assisting the Jordanian Scout program to incorporate Syrian and Iraqi youth into their ranks by providing funding for instruments and uniforms. The scout project will work to include refugee youth into the local community and provide friendships, life skills, and a safe place for them to spend time. One of the highlights of the season for our team was providing an Easter lunch for the Syrian and Iraqi community at the Catholic Armenian Church in East Amman. Through out the season, our hearts were heavy hearing and seeing the hardships that our neighbors face, yet they were rejuvenated by Easter and being able to provide and share what we have with those around us; all while feeling the power and strength of the communities that we are part of coming together to help those in need.

This summer, we are looking to continue helping the most vulnerable members of our community, focusing on the Syrian and Iraqi refugees seeking safety and shelter around us. With the warm weather that the summer brings upon us, we are seeking ways to make life more bearable and comfortable by providing refrigerators, fans, and water coolers. We will focus our efforts on providing these items for those who need them most, for example, giving a family in need of a refrigerator one, or if they need a fan we will give them a fan. These items we be able to be put in use immediately and will be useful for years to come given the nature of our desert Kingdom.

We are looking to support 1000 beneficiaries. A medium sized refrigerator costs approximately 350 US dollars and is an investment that can be used by a group of people living in a one building, sharing the benefits among the community. As temperatures rise and summer heat stifles, portable fans, costing about 25-30 US dollars can keep families cool in their homes during the day, and help them to sleep well at night. Water coolers with a large replaceable bottle, costing about 40 US dollars, are another necessity to keep families hydrated and comfortable this summer. All of these items are not an investment in just one refugee or family, but an investment in the entire community. As times change, and situations change, many refugees find themselves moving to different housing, or even being resettled through international programs. When this happens, other refugees through the community can reuse the refrigerators, fans, and water coolers. Even when refugees begin to return home, it will not happen immediately and this reallocation of our community resources will continue to help those in need for years to come.

The displacement that we see in Jordan and our region is far from over. Even if sustainable and just solutions to current wars and violence arise tomorrow, it will be a long time before we are able to rebuild homes, reconnect families, and move forward to a brighter future. We are continuing to work towards developing longer-term solutions, such as our youth center and nursery project in Karak to help meet these needs. All of our work through the past years has only been possible with our friends and supporters through out the world. We are extremely grateful for walking together with us on this journey and ask once again for your assistance in furthering our work. We will continue seeking to help those around us, not knowing what the future holds, but trusting fully of our mission to be there for the most vulnerable.

The United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) continue to offer support for the work of many partners in the region to provide humanitarian response to the needs of Syrian refugees.  Please consider supporting the work of Global Ministries partners’ relief efforts in and around Syria.  Gifts for these efforts may be made through Global Ministries, One Great Hour of Sharing, or Week of Compassion.