Iraqi refugees in Jordan – an update

January

In the face of recent attacks against Christianity in Iraq, FRRME continues to support 500 Christian Iraqi families who have sought refuge in Jordan. With no end to the sectarian violence in sight, and with winter closing in, we have set up The Emergency Appeal for Iraqi Refugees to help those in our care (please click on the image below to donate).
Despite the challenges, FRRME’s team on the ground in Jordan is doing a fantastic job. Over the Christmas / New Year period we paid for extra heating (it is very cold in Jordan), gave out winter clothing coupons to 231 refugee families, and gave presents to all the children at our school in Marka.
Iraqi refugee children at FRRME’s school in Marka
With temperatures set to drop this week, it is important that everyone has the supplies they need. Today, our Project Officers in Amman delivered 84 food packages and will continue their rounds tomorrow.
The contents of today’s FRRME food package
A report by the UN published this week shows the devastating impact the war in Iraq is having. But with your help we are able to give the Iraqi refugees in our care hope for the future.

Surviving ISIS – an update from Northern Iraq,  by Dr Sarah Ahmed

January

Dear Friends,
There have been so many reports this past year about the terrible plight of the Yazidi sex slaves. While it was heartening to see the recent nomination of Nadia Murad Basee Tahan for the Nobel Peace Prize(Nadia was captured by ISIS and used as a sex slave), many Yazidi girls are still in captivity. Their situation has been made worse by the recent news that ISIS has banned the selling of sex slaves back to their families. For those who manage to escape, many face a harsh winter living in IDP camps.
For many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Iraq, snow-covered tents will be their home this winter
With this in mind, FRRME has set up the Girls who Survived ISIS Empowerment Project. Our primary focus is to help care for girls who have escaped ISIS and are back with their families. We are providing them with much-needed medical care and winter clothes. Many of the girls we are helping are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The project is in its early stages but with your support we aim to help more girls over a longer period of time.
Distributing winter clothes to the most vulnerable in Erbil
As well as the Yazidi girls, we are also continuing our support for the families who have escaped ISIS. We recently delivered more than 400 mattresses to IDP families living in the Harsham Camp in Erbil. The camp is mixed – Christian and Muslim – and most of the people there have fled Mosul and other cities now under ISIS control.
A young Iraqi woman takes delivery of her new mattress, provided by FRRME
Despite the harsh weather, our relief work in Northern Iraq continues. The people we are helping have nothing but with your support we are making a positive difference. I am truly thankful to all of those who continue to support FRRME each month. Without your support our work would not be possible.
Dr Sarah Ahmed, FRRME's Director of Operations in Iraq, works to bring vital aid to internally displaced Iraqi children
Dr Sarah Ahmed, FRRME’s Director of Operations in Iraq
Thank you and God bless,
Dr Sarah Ahmed
Director of Operations in Iraq
The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East

Winter for the refugees in Jordan

November

Winter for the refugees in Jordan
For many Iraqi refugees living in Jordan, this will be their first winter away from home. Although they have managed to escape religious persecution and sectarian violence, life in Jordan is not easy. Most are not able to work because refugees are not allowed work permits. It is starting to get cold there, with temperatures as low as -1°C possible for the month of November. One thing all the refugees in our care have in common is that they rely on your support.
This week, our team on the ground in Marka, a suburb of Amman, has been giving out food vouchers to the 600 Iraqi refugee families in our care. The food voucher programme ensures that food reaches the most vulnerable people on a regular basis.

In addition to our food voucher programme, our team recently visited Mafraq, 80 miles north of Amman, which has the largest Syrian refugee population in Jordan. We are partnering with a charity there and have given money for food packages, heaters and blankets (below is a picture of one of our relief workers, Heather, with a refugee girl she met in Mafraq).

This week also marks FRRME’s participation in Give Back Friday. If you buy your Christmas presents this way, the shop you buy your presents from will donate us a small cash reward. It is a completely free and easy way to give to charity. Please click on the image below for more details and simple instructions.

If you would like to support the work of The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, you can do so by clicking here. Thank you.

Sawra Village: A Home For Displaced Iraqi Christians

October

It is estimated that approximately 200,000 Iraqi Christians fled their homes last summer, escaping to the relative safety of north east Iraq. However, the vast majority have no proper shelter, regular food, or access to medical care.

The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME) has helped turn a former British military base into a new home for internally displaced Iraqi Christians. Tents that were once used by the British Army at Camp Bastian in Afghanistan will now provide winter shelter for approximately 600 Iraqi men, women and children, many of whom were forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants.

The new camp, which is near Semele in the Dohuk region of Iraq, has been named ‘Sawra Village’ (Sawra means ‘Hope’ in Assyrian) and will comprise of 26 heated tents, three diesel generators, washing machines, showers, toilets, and a tent which will be used as a church.

This extraordinary project has taken many months of hard work and is the result of a partnership between FRRME, Barnabas Fund and ACERO. The project cost £487,000, of which FRRME provided £150,000. However, while these people are now in relative safety and have accommodation, a harsh winter is approaching and the humanitarian needs are enormous.

 

Thank you.

Jordan – An Update from FRRME’s team on the ground

October

Greetings from Jordan!

With thankful hearts, we are continuing to see the school here in Jordan move forward.  New text books have been purchased for the students – the best textbooks for science, maths, English and Arabic. Extra-curricular activities, including French language classes and physical education, are also in development.

In stepping up to the level of the surrounding, established schools, FRRME’s ‘Now or Never’ school has also provided its students with brand new school uniforms.

Children in school uniforms

With your support, refugee Iraqi women in our care have made school uniforms for all 155 of our precious young ones.  These uniforms not only create a more formal atmosphere, they provide the children with adequate clothing as the harsh winter months approach.

We have also been able to purchase a new laptop, which will be used to help administrate the school and also our health clinic here in Jordan. Thank you for your support and help.  It is wonderful to see the joy on the children’s faces and the skip in their step.  Each student has also learned to recite their first prayer in English!  Amen!

Amar

FRRME supports the family of a man here in Jordan called Amar who has Multiple Sclerosis. At the age of 37 Amar’s MS has progressed to the point of paralysis and he is unable to eat or speak.  Just last week we shared communion with Amar and his family (Amar partook in communion via his feeding tube through his nose).  Amar is cared for twenty four hours a day by three of his sisters and his mother.  He has been bed ridden for two years.

Amar

Amar’s family look after him with great care – the adjustment of the pillows, the mixing of medications, the checking of medication levels, the constant monitoring of the IV.  Every time we come to Amar’s home we see Christ and his love for Amar through the love of his three sisters and his mother

Thank you,

The FRRME Team

 

Iraq – The Camps of Kurdistan – An Update from FRRME’s Projects Director in Iraq, Dr Sarah Ahmed

October

Dear Friends,

FRRME’s relief work in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq is vital. Iraqi Kurdistan borders the so-called Islamic State and many of the people we are helping there have been forced to flee. Many arrive in Kurdistan with little more than the clothes on their backs. Some have walked through the desert to find safety. When they arrive, our team on the ground is there to help them, providing much-needed food and medicine. This exodus is particularly traumatic for the children.

Children with bag of grain

The camps for IDPs (Internally displaced People) in Kurdistan are full. Conditions are getting worse because of the overcrowding. Once people arrive in the camps, there is no proper shelter for them, just clay huts without doors, or canvas tents. With winter approaching and very low temperatures likely, the crisis is set to get much worse. There have even been reports of children running around naked in the camps of Sulaymaniyah in east Kurdistan because they have no clothes.

There’s often a misconception, particularly in the West, that all IDPs and refugees are poor, illiterate and looking for hand-outs. However, many of the people I’ve encountered are highly-educated professionals. One day, they are working hard and running successful businesses, with their children doing well in school. The next, they find themselves in a vast refugee camp hundreds of miles away, packed into tents and struggling to find food for their children to eat.

FRRME sacks

Despite the worsening situation in the camps of Kurdistan, and thanks to your generous donations, FRRME continues to make a difference every day. We are providing vital relief – food, medicine and shelter – to those who need it most. The most important thing we are giving is hope. Without hope, the people in our care would fall into despair. If you would like to help us help them, you can give to The Emergency Appeal for Iraqi Refugees or visit the donate page on this website. Thank you.

Dr Sarah Ahmed

Projects Director in Iraq

The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME)

Jordan – An Interview with Kareem, An Iraqi Refugee – by FRRME Relief Worker, Heather Joy Quinones

September

Dear Friends,

Every week here in Amman we visit the community of Iraqi refugees we are helping by providing them with food, medicine and shelter. The eldest man in this community is Kareem. He is very thin and walks with a cane. His eyes are gentle and his demeanor is calm and rhythmic. I would describe him as observant, caring, and the best of listeners.

A younger man works as a translator for us but there are times when he doesn’t understand a word we say. It is then that he looks to Kareem, who translates what we have said into Arabic to help the translator. Even though Kareem does not speak fluent English, he understands what we are saying.

Kareem with his three daughters

Kareem with his three daughters

We sat down with Kareem, who is always dressed in slacks and a button-up shirt that has the feel of the 1920s. Kareem has been married to Siham for 16 years and has three daughters. He is, to our surprise, only 57 years old. Kareem had lived in Baghdad his whole life until sectarian violence there caused him to leave in 2006 and relocate his family to Mosul in the north of the country. Mosul was annexed by ISIS in June last year and Kareem and his family had to flee for a second time.

When we asked Kareem what the hardest part about being a refugee is, he replied: “Being strangers in a foreign land.”  So often, Westerners think that Arab countries are facsimiles of each other and that the differences are marginal. But for Kareem, the difference between Iraq and Jordan is huge.

Providing for his family is extremely difficult for Kareem. He is unable to provide for his three young daughters and this is a great source of anxiety. Previously, he had worked with a photocopying company in Iraq. However, in Jordan it is against the law for him to work. Jordan will not give work permits to refugees – this is to discourage people like Kareem from going to Jordan, even when they have nowhere else to go. Kareem also struggles with a hip replacement, the result of a bad automobile accident, which makes caring for his family even more challenging.

Kareem fled the historic city of Mosul, now controlled by Islamic State

Kareem fled the historic city of Mosul, now controlled by Islamic State

Kareem and his family fled Mosul on Wednesday 6th August 2014. On that day, Kareem received a phone call from a friend. It was late at night and his friend told him he had to flee for his life; that his whole family had to flee immediately. He walked outside. There was no electricity anywhere, not even the sound of emergency generators. It was dark and everyone was gone. Kareem and his family left their home at 11.00pm – they took nothing with them, they simply walked out into the desert in the clothes they were standing in.

After walking for 25 miles in the dark, at around 4:00am Kareem and his family were picked up by a complete stranger who offered to drive them to the relative safety of Dohuk, where Kareem’s mother-in-law lived. Two months later, the family made their way to Amman in Jordan and Kareem has not seen his homeland since. Interviewing Kareem reveals a sadness many Iraqi refugees feel:

“What do you hope for? What do you want?” I asked Kareem. He answered: “I want a place where I can settle down that is safe and to guarantee the future of my children. For myself, I don’t want anything, only for my family.”

“Would you ever go back to Iraq?” I asked. Kareem said: “If there was peace, I would.”

Kareem is the first Iraqi refugee that I have heard say he would choose to go back to Iraq if the fighting there ended. I am sure there are many like him. My conversation with Kareem reminded me of this quote by Mother Teresa:

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me.  I was homeless and you took me in.’”

Please donate to The Emergency Appeal for Iraqi Refugees to help people like Kareem

Please donate to The Emergency Appeal for Iraqi Refugees to help people like Kareem

If you would like to help Kareem and his family, or other Iraqi refugee families who have fled to Jordan, you can do so by visiting our new Just Giving page: The Emergency Appeal for Iraqi Refugees.

Heather Joy Quinones

Relief Worker

The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME)

Jordan – Relocating Iraqi Refugee Families – A Project Update from FRRME Relief Workers, Richard and Christy Sherrod

September

Dear Friends,

Relocating Iraqi refugee families is one of FRRME’s most important projects. Many of the people we help have fled the sectarian violence in Iraq and are now living in poverty in Jordan. Thanks to your generous donations, FRRME is able to give these people food, a roof over their heads, and hope for the future.

Cramped living conditions of Iraqi refugee families in Amman

Cramped living conditions of Iraqi refugee families in Amman

Visiting with families in their temporary homes, we see first-hand the conditions they are forced to endure. While it is better than living under the tyranny of ISIS, there is one thing to consider – most of these Iraqis are not used to this kind of life. They are educated and have worked hard to provide for their families. Many have built their own businesses and their own homes. They are engineers, doctors, lawyers and business owners who have enjoyed life with family and friends. To have all this taken away in the blink of an eye is a tragedy that takes faith and courage to overcome.

One of our first projects in Jordan involved several families living in a church – Father Khalil of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Marka (a suburb of Amman) took them in after hearing they had been dropped off by the side of the road. Not knowing where to go, or what to do, these families found safety and comfort in Father Khalil’s church compound. As time went by, more families came to the church for refuge. Over time, the living space grew smaller and the time grew longer.

Buses supplied by FRRME take Iraqi refugee families to their new home

Buses supplied by FRRME take Iraqi refugee families to their new home

FRRME has relocated several families from Father Khalil’s church to a home designed for community living in another area of Jordan. This building was brand new and ready for them to move in to. FRRME’s team on the ground furnished the building, arranged the move and, as a result, Iraqi refugee families can start to rebuild their shattered lives. It is important to note that proper relocation work is sometimes slow and requires long-term resources and patience.

Iraqi refugee families with Richard and Christy Sherrod in their new home

Iraqi refugee families with Richard and Christy Sherrod in their new home

It has now been six months since we relocated these families (and many more) to their new homes and it has renewed their hope and strength to continue. It is a blessing to be a part of something so inspiring and it is thanks to generous donations that this vital work is able to continue.

Richard and Christy Sherrod

Relief Workers

The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME)

 

 

Iraq – Baghdad and Kurdistan – An Update from FRRME’s Projects Director in Iraq, Dr Sarah Ahmed

August

Things in Iraq are not getting any better. In the south of the country, there are huge problems – non-stop protests and an uprising against government corruption. There is no infrastructure and nothing works – no electricity and no clean water. In the north of the country, in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, the situation is no better. Electricity only comes on for six hours a day, prices for everything are extremely high, and people haven’t been paid in months. Not to mention the ongoing threat from ISIS. But FRRME is persevering in its amazing work.

Dr Sarah Ahmed with displaced Iraqi children in Kurdistan

Dr Sarah Ahmed with displaced Iraqi children in Kurdistan

In the south, we have a brilliant relief program which provides food and medical treatment for families. FRRME’s clinic at St. George’s Church in Baghdad continues to offer free daily medical care, as well as emergency operations for people who desperately need them. We are also providing living expenses for people looking after family members with severe physical or learning disabilities. In addition, we are providing rented accommodation for those who have been made homeless as a result of sectarian violence and persecution.

In the north, it is a bigger and more complex situation. With ISIS on the ground, thousands of Iraqi Christians, Yazidis and Muslims from the region have become Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and the needs are enormous. FRRME’s medical relief program in the north is providing vital treatments, from chronic illness prescriptions for the elderly to lice and scabies medicine for the children. FRRME also provides food packages on a monthly basis to those living in the camps.

Sarah IDPs 3

In addition to the relief work, FRRME is working with other church organisations to provide an education for the children. Currently, we have a small school that has been in operation for the past eight months and we now have a summer school that hosts around 150 students. The teachers are all IDPs themselves and are keen, despite their situation, to help out. We also have a housing program which is providing shelter for thousands of people and, wherever possible, we are creating jobs and volunteer opportunities in the camps for those who want to help.

One of our more sensitive and important projects involves taking care of the Yazidi and Christian girls that were taken by ISIS. After being freed, these girls have nothing, and they come to us with all kinds of medical issues, from pregnancy to psychological trauma. We are doing what we can to help care for these girls and help them to recover from the terrible violence they have experienced.

Thanks to your kind support, prayers and generous donations, FRRME continues to make a positive impact. If you would like to support our work in Iraq, you can do so by visiting the donate page on this website.

Peace and love,

Dr Sarah Ahmed

Director of Operations in Iraq

Jordan – An Update from FRRME’s Project Officer, Peter Christensen

July

Dear Friends,

This month I have had an opportunity to take a comprehensive look at all of the amazing work that FRRME is doing in Jordan. We are currently providing education through our school, healthcare through our clinic, and accommodation and food relief through direct interaction with the Iraqi refugees we are helping.

Right now we have around 300 students in our school, aged 8 – 14, which costs approximately £10,000 per month to fund. We are hoping to expand our education work in Jordan to include two new schools, which would allow us to help even more Iraqi refugee children continue their educations. As well as education itself, our schools provide a positive change in environment for the children, as well as the possibility of a decent job in the future. This month we celebrated the graduation of some of our students which was very heartening.

We are also helping Iraqi refugees in Jordan by providing much-needed healthcare via our free clinic. Around 50 people per week make appointments at the clinic and we provide them with dental, medical, and pharmaceutical services, as well a bus service to and from the clinic. Our costs for the clinic amount to £6,500 per month and without your generous donations we would not be able to provide this essential service.

FRRME provides free health care for Iraqi refugees in Jordan

FRRME provides free health care for Iraqi refugees in Jordan

Along with our partners on the ground, we also provide direct financial assistance. This money enables displaced Iraqis to live in proper rented accommodation, to buy food, and to pay for medical care and emergencies. In the past few months we have spent £25,000 per month providing these services to hundreds of individuals and families. By meeting the basic needs of our people in a more hands-on, case by case way, we are able to build relationships with individuals and with their networks within the wider community. Building these relationships and networks helps us to be more effective in our work over the long-term.

I am pleased to report that our work in Jordan is going very well. We are steadily expanding the services we provide and the number of people we are helping. We hope and pray this important work will develop and grow and that we can continue to assist our Iraqi brothers and sisters living in exile in Jordan.

Peter Christensen

Project Officer, Jordan

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Insights from Sarah Ahmed, Director of Operations
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