As Daesh is pushed backed by the Peshmerga and Iraqi Government forces, the scale of their destruction becomes clearer. Whole villages have been destroyed and of those still standing, many have been littered with mines. Because of this, thousands of internally displaced Iraqis find themselves without a home to go back to, or have been prevented from returning because of the security threat.
Amid the chaos and destruction, FRRME continues to work in 17 IDP camps in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan (3 in Erbil and 14 in and around Dohuk). Thanks to our amazing team of volunteers on the ground, last month we provided emergency food relief to 5,514 families (a reach of approximately 33,000 people). Many of our volunteers are IDPs themselves, people who have lost everything but who ensure that aid reaches the most vulnerable.
We are continuing to support the education / care of Iraqi IDP children, including the 120 children at our kindergarten in Um Al-Noor. The curriculum we provide, which includes core subjects such as English, Maths and Science, is the same as the Iraqi national curriculum (ensuring some degree of educational continuity). One of our more recent education projects is the Autism Centre in Kirkuk which provides care for children with autism and other special educational needs.
With temperatures in Iraq soaring to 43 degrees this week, we have also provided 97 cooling systems to Baharka Camp and 42 cooling systems to Harsham Camp. These cooling systems can be run off camp generators and will make an enormous difference to the people living there.
Despite the hardships endured by Iraqi IDPs and refugees, the international community seems to have forgotten about them. The UK Government’s £100 million aid package to Jordan, for example, has been given on the proviso that it is used to help Syrian refugees only, not Iraqis. However, with your support, we will continue to help our Iraqi brothers and sisters, doing what we can to make their lives better.
The FRRME Team
Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of Jordanian Independence and there were encouraging words from King Abdullah who spoke of “unity, freedom and pluralism” as well as “religious harmony”. In the wake of ISIS, this is the reason that so many Iraqi Christians have made their way to the Hashemite Kingdom.
FRRME has been working in Jordan since the beginning of 2015. Our mission there is to help the thousands of Iraqi Christians who have been driven from their homes. Since then, we have set up a food voucher programme which provides food for 500 Iraqi families. We have also set up a school in Marka (a suburb of Amman), which is attended by 175 pupils.
This week, Lord Jack McConnell, Vice President of UNICEF UK, wrote that “the impact of conflict, violence and displacement on education in Iraq has been nothing short of devastating.” He is right. That is why FRRME, with your support, continues to provide a broad-curriculum education to as many children as possible.
Currently, the Jordanian Government won’t give work permits to Iraqi refugees, which makes it very hard for them to stand on their own two feet. In tandem with this, UK Government policy forbids Iraqi refugees from entering the country, only Syrian. Given this state of affairs, many Iraqi refugee children face a grim future.
Education for our refugee children is essential. Without it, they will become a lost generation.
The FRRME Team.
This week, my team in Northern Iraq distributed more food packages, including fresh bread, cheese, yogurt and qishta (a type of clotted cream used in Middle Eastern cooking). Some of the people were crying because the bread was hot (this is a rare luxury for those living in IDP camps).
We were finally able to install a steel gate at the the entrance to Harsham Camp in Erbil. Previously the camp had been completely open, which was a major security issue for the residents. They now feel more protected.
We are continuing our work with the Yazidi girls, many of whom have suffered horrendous sexual and physical abuse at the hands of ISIS. The girls and their families are residing in a survivors camp in Dohuk. It is so sad to see the trauma they have suffered.
According to the IDMC
, there are at least 3.3 million internally displaced Iraqis, many of whom are living in the camps we visit each week. The saddest sight of all is seeing the children – they have no home, no future, and many of them are suffering from malnutrition. But thanks to your support, we are helping the most vulnerable.
We cannot reach everyone but our targetted distribution of aid makes life more bearable for those at the heart of this humanitarian crisis. As ever, our priority is always the children.
If you would like to find out more about our work, please visit frrme.org
Peace and Love,
Dr Sarah Ahmed
Director of Operations in the Middle East
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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’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
The FRRME Team