Helping Iraqi Christian refugees in Amman

February

As a registered charity, we take our governance very seriously and insist on strong oversight to ensure we are fulfilling our mission. One way this happens is when our trustees visit our projects on the ground to see for themselves how your donations are continuing to make a positive impact. Below is a report from Christopher Segar, who served as Head of Mission in Iraq for the British Government between 2003 – 2004, and now serves as one of our trustees.

Our ongoing work in Jordan

Christian families continue to arrive in Jordan from war-torn Iraq. Most families hope of emigrating to Australia or Canada but this can take a long time. Pastor You, one of the church leaders we are working with in Amman, estimates that the average wait is 2 ½ years, and families need about 10,000 Jordanian Dinar (£12,000 / $15,000) per year to keep going. Given the terrible persecution they have suffered, very few families plan to return to Iraq.

The congregation at Pastor You’s Assemblies of God Church

The Assemblies of God Church is a “house church” run by Pastor You, his wife and two small sons on the ground floor of their villa in Madaba, an ancient town southwest of Amman. During our visit, we attended the monthly distribution of food coupons which are provided for by FRRME and cost £15 / $19 per family. Around 70 families in Madaba receive these coupons and the process is handled meticulously by Mrs You and her assistants.

Christopher Segar with Sarah Ahmed (FRRME Director of Operations) and Pastor Zaki Copti

Zaki Copti pastors the Nazarene Church in Gardens, a district of Amman long popular with Iraqi expatriates. There is a lively service on Sunday evenings (which is a working day in Jordan) with more than 100 people attending. The large villa has been adapted to provide facilities for the increasing numbers of Iraqi refugee families. Our regular food package contributions are much appreciated, as was the late delivery of Christmas Cards we handed out at the end of the service (written by our supporters in the US).

Father Immanuel of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Our biggest church partner in Jordan is the Syrian Orthodox Church and Father Emmanuel. Our partnership with him and his church in Sweifieh remains strong and we continue to feed more than 500 families there to the tune of £4,000 / $5,000 per month. We are also maintaining our relationship with Father Bolis at the Greek Catholic Church in Fuhais, although Father Bolis is currently in Australia.

If you would like to support our work please see the giving options at the bottom of this newsletter. Below is an infographic outlining our core commitments in Jordan.

Did you know?
 

We are registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Please type our charity number (1133576) into the search box for more information about how your donations are helping.

Making a donation to support our work

If you are a UK resident, you can make a single or regular donation via our website by clicking here.

American supporters can make a donation via our sister organisation, FRRME America, by clicking here.

Alternatively, you can make a donation to The Winter Crisis Appeal for Iraqi Refugees by clicking here.

Thank you,

The FRRME Team

Weekly Media Summary 17 February 2017

February

Each week we post a selection of recent online items where you can find out about the latest developments in the countries in which the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East operates – Iraq and Jordan.

This week’s Media Summary features news about the recent car bombing in Baghdad and the influence of Christianity in Jordan.

Iraq

Al Jazeera: Deadly car bombing rocks Iraq’s Baghdad

The Daily Express: End of Christianity In Iraq? Priest sees NO FUTURE for the religion in Middle Eastern city

Jordan

Crux: Bishop says the Christian influence in Jordan is still strong

Business Insider: Jordan commander: ISIS increasingly strong in Syrian refugee camp

Caring for displaced children in Northern Iraq

February

Last week we shared an update from one of our Trustees, Christopher Segar, who recently went to Northern Iraq to see for himself the positive impact our work is having. This week’s update is about the children’s projects we are supporting, which include  a kindergarten in Erbil, a girls school in Harsham Camp, and an Autism Centre in Kirkuk.

Um al Noor Kindergarten
 

The Um al Noor Kindergarten is run by the Syrian Orthodox Church and is based in a large villa in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. It caters for around 130 Christian children, mainly from the camps and from the congregation in Erbil. The children only pay if they can and we continue to contribute £4,000 ($5,000) for each school year.

The eight teachers at Um al Noor are led by Mrs Amira Aqrawi who is herself is an IDP from the recently liberated eastern part of Mosul. Mrs Aqrawi says she is reluctant to go back there given the terrible persecution suffered by Christians in the city under Islamic State.


Girls school in Harsham Camp
 

There are currently 30 girls enrolled at our girls school in Harsham Camp north of Erbil, but this could go up to 60. The four cabins that make up the school are self-contained and transportable. The curriculum is certified by the Iraqi Ministry of Education. Currently, the Emirates Red Crescent is responsible for a majority of the housing units at Harsham, while we are providing regular food deliveries for the girls and the staff.

Autism Centre in Kirkuk

The Autism Centre in Kirkuk is the brainchild of Dr Firmaisek Jaleel who herself had two autistic children and found absolutely no arrangements to support them anywhere in the Iraqi educational or medical institutions. Children like this in Iraq have traditionally just been classified as mad and shut away. Dr Jaleel derives all her diagnostic principles and training methods from publications (in French) from Lebanon. Our support has allowed her to expand and cater for 85 children who are looked after by a team of 22 carers.

Our mission

According to the ‘Education Cannot Wait’ initiative, “education appeals receive less than 2% of humanitarian funding”. That is why we are focused on supporting the above projects. We recognised very early on, following the Islamic State incursion into Northern Iraq, that many children would be denied an education and, for the most vulnerable, the care they need. With your support, we will continue to fund these vital projects.

Did you know?

We are registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Please type our charity number (1133576) into the search box for more info about how your donations are helping.

How you can help

If you are a UK resident, you can make a single or regular donation via our website by clicking here.

American supporters can make a donation via our sister organisation, FRRME America, by clicking here.

Alternatively, you can make a donation to The Winter Crisis Appeal for Iraqi Refugees by clicking here.

Thank you,

The FRRME Team

Weekly Media Summary 10 February 2017

February

Each week we post a selection of recent online items where you can find out about the latest developments in the countries in which the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East operates – Iraq and Jordan.

This week’s Media Summary features news about the worsening sectarianism in Northern Iraq and the Jordanian military’s recent targetting of ISIS in Syria.

Iraq

Middle East Monitor: Iraq Christian militia threatens to ethnically cleanse Sunni Arabs

Fox News: Iraqi archbishop backs Trump travel ban, hopes for aid to Christians

Jordan

Catholic News Agency: Bishop says the Christian influence in Jordan is still strong

The Daily Star: Jordan hits ISIS in Syria two years after pilot burned alive

 

 

An update on our work in Northern Iraq 

February

In January, one of our Trustees, Christopher Segar, went to Erbil in Northern Iraq to see the positive impact our projects are having. From 2003 – 2004 Christopher was Head of Mission in Iraq, tasked by the British Government with setting up a diplomatic presence in the country.

Over the next three weeks, we will be sharing Christopher’s updates with you. This week focuses on our emergency relief projects in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Christopher Segar at the entrance of Baharka Camp north of Erbil

The situation in Iraqi Kurdistan

The economy in Iraqi Kurdistan seems to have been hit hard by the fall in the oil price and the cuts in Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) oil exports through Turkey. Consequently, there are more and more power cuts (apparently more off than on now). Everyone has a stand-by generator. Erbil has been heavily developed since 2003. However, many building projects are visibly on hold. Even so, the KRG pays significant costs for all the IDP camps in its territory, which are managed by the Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF) in partnership with UNHCR: mainly providing the land and the supply of electricity. Most of the camps drill for their own supplies of ground water. Security in and around the camps is provided by the KRG police and Peshmerga (Kurdish army).

Baharka Camp
A group photo of our IDP volunteers in Baharka Camp

Baharka, north of Erbil, is a smallish camp housing approximately 4,100 occupants. It may soon begin to take more IDPs from the emergency camps near Mosul such as Khazir. Currently, more than half the occupants at Baharka are Shabak from the Nineveh Province. Most of the rest are Sunni Arabs. There are also 18 Palestinian families. In addition to supplementary food supplies, we are funding an ambulance service from a neighbouring petrol station. We also employ a number of volunteers, themselves IDPs, who help with food distribution.

Debaga Camp
Dr Sarah Ahmed, our Director of Operations in the Middle East, and her team of helpers at the FRRME kitchen at Debaga Camp in Makhmour

Debaga, south of Erbil, was set up in late 2015 to house IDPs from the ISIS incursion into the plains around Makhmour. It is the largest camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. Capacity peaked last year at 35,000 but is now down to around 22,000, mainly Sunni Arabs and Kurds. While there, we visited our supplementary kitchen project which provides lunches and dinners to families whose accommodation does not allow them to cook for themselves. The food (mainly rice and stew) is distributed in bulk with small vans. This project also provides some social interaction for the camp’s occupants, as well as employment for the helpers.

Qaraqosh

The courtyard of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh.
ISIS used it as a shooting range

Some of you may have read last week’s report about Qaraqosh. When we visited the city, which is predominantly Christian, we found that none of the churches had been cleaned up since the first western journalists went there last November immediately after the liberation. There is still no power or water in the city and very few people stay overnight. There are three police stations, a small municipal office and a primitive health centre. Access and security are formally in the hands of the Plain of Nineveh Units (PNU), an informal brigade formed from Christian members of the Iraqi army.

Did you know?

We are registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Please type our charity number (1133576) into the search box for more info. As a Christian charity, we are feeding displaced and dispossessed people of all creeds. In doing so, our mission is to bring together different sectarian groups that have been driven apart by war. If you would like to help, please see the giving options below.

How you can help

If you are a UK resident, you can make a single or regular donation via our website by clicking here.

American supporters can make a donation via our sister organisation, FRRME America, by clicking here.

Alternatively, you can make a donation to The Winter Crisis Appeal for Iraqi Refugees by clicking here.

Thank you,
The FRRME Team

 

Weekly Media Summary 3 February 2017

February

Each week we post a selection of recent online items where you can find out about the latest developments in the countries in which the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East operates – Iraq and Jordan.

This week’s Media Summary features news about the plight of Christians in Mosul and King Abdullah of Jordan’s recent visit to Washington.

Iraq

Christian Today: Christians May Not Return To Mosul For Years, If At All, Experts Warn

The Jordan Times: Iraq faces challenge of educating Mosul’s displaced children

Jordan

Reuters: Trump visits with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Washington

The Economist: Not much might in the Hashemites – Jordan plays it safe

FRRME in the press

World Watch Monitor: Cleaning up towns freed from IS ‘erases evidence of their crimes’

We went to Iraq’s largest church and found it desecrated by Islamic State

February

Last week our team on the ground in Iraq visited the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh, 20 miles south east of Mosul. As you can see, it has been desecrated.

Islamic State captured Qaraqosh in the summer of 2014 and reportedly used the church, which is the biggest in Iraq, as a shooting range. There were terrible rumours that Christian children were beheaded nearby, although these are unsubstantiated. What is clear is that the jihadis vandalised and scorched the building which once housed a congregation of 3,000 worshippers.

Amid the blackened ruins, we found piles of bullet casings, burnt bibles, and Islamic State graffiti. Reports from the ground suggest that pews were used as fire wood and that statues of the Virgin Mary were decapitated. The Nineveh Plain Protection Units, a Christian organisation made up of Assyrians, is currently guarding the road into the city, but it remains a dangerous place to visit.

The Christians of Qaraqosh have gone. They have either fled or been killed. Even now, three months since the liberation, it is a ghost town. There is an assumption that Christians want to go back to their homes (this has certainly been the case with Sunnis and Yazidis in the region). However, the persecution they have suffered has taken its toll. Most will never go back. Instead, they will languish in church compounds in Erbil or, if they are lucky, they will be granted asylum in the West.

Through our partnership with the Syrian Orthodox and Armenian Churches in Erbil, we are feeding 33,000 Iraqi Christians every month. These are the people who cannot afford to go to neighbouring Arab countries. In most cases, they have lost everything.

The photos in this latest update were provided by Dr Sarah Ahmed, our Director of Operations, during a visit by Trustee, Christopher Segar. As a charity operating on the ground in Iraq, we take every effort to ensure that your precious donations help those most in need, and on behalf of the 1,000’s regularly fed we sincerely thank you.

Did you know? 

We are registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Please type our charity number (1133576) into the search box for more info.

How you can help

If you are a UK resident, you can make a single or regular donation via our website by clicking here.

American supporters can make a donation via our sister organisation, FRRME America, by clicking here.

Alternatively, you can make a donation to The Winter Crisis Appeal for Iraqi Refugees by clicking here.

Thank you,

The FRRME Team

February 2017 Prayer Diary

Please click the button below to read our monthly prayer diary

February 2017 Prayer Diary

 

Please note that the Prayer Diary is also accessible through the new Prayermate App which can be accessed by following the instructions below:

Instructions for Prayermate App

Weekly Media Summary 27 January 2017

January

Each week we post a selection of recent online items where you can find out about the latest developments in the countries in which the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East operates – Iraq and Jordan.

This week’s Media Summary features news about the battle for Mosul and King Abdullah of Jordan’s visit to the US.

Iraq

BBC News: Mosul battle: Children return to schools in recaptured east

The Washington Post: Iraqi troops push into IS-held villages north of Mosul

Jordan

Reuters: Jordan’s King Abdullah to visit U.S. from Monday

Middle East Eye: Car bomb blast at Syria refugee camp on Jordan border kills 4

Update from our girls school in Harsham camp

January

According to the UN, 70% of internally displaced children in Iraq have now missed at least one year of school. The longer these children are out of the education system, the harder it is to get back in. However, thanks to Dr Sarah Ahmed, our Director of Operations in the Middle East, 30 girls are now being educated at our school in Harsham camp north of Erbil.

The school is situated next to a boys primary school. The current intake of girls are aged between 11 -14. Later this year we are hoping to set up a class for 15 – 18 year olds. The Iraqi Ministry of Education provides the curriculum as well as stationary and other essentials. We provide the school with food and contribute towards the upkeep of the buildings. In the future, funds permitting, we would like to provide a room for the teaching staff.

One of the girls at our school in Harsham

The UN estimates that up to half of children in IDP camps in Iraq are unable to attend school, putting them at risk of falling into child labour or, in the case of many girls, ending up as child brides. With this in mind, and thanks to your support, we are happy to report that the girls at Harsham are thriving. Please click on the image below to watch a short video of the school.

Click on the above image to watch the video

For her work in Northern Iraq, Dr Sarah was honoured this week with an award from the Kurdish Regional Government. As an Iraqi Muslim working for a Christian charity helping the displaced and the dispossessed, regardless of creed, Dr Sarah is the embodiment of what we do. We are very proud of her.

The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME) is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. To support our work, please see the giving options below.

How you can help

If you are a UK resident, you can make a single or regular donation via our website by clicking here.

American supporters can make a donation via our sister organisation, FRRME America, by clicking here.

Alternatively, you can make a donation to The Winter Crisis Appeal for Iraqi Refugees by clicking here.

Thank you,

The FRRME Team
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Insights from Sarah Ahmed, Director of Operations
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