Jerusalem International School of Reconciliation 2016

September

The Jerusalem International School for Reconciliation has again been held this summer. Around fifty people of different backgrounds and from a variety of countries came to the city for lectures and discussions about the realities of interfaith dialogue in the Holy Land.

Students at this year’s Jerusalem International School of Reconciliation

They came from America, Canada, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Singapore and Australia. Many are pastors, some are students of theology, some are studying or working on interfaith relations – and others are just ordinary people keen to deepen their knowledge of the issues facing this region today.

The school is again being held at Christ Church – in the Old City just inside the Jaffa Gate. Christ Church was founded in the 1840s and is the oldest Protestant church in the Middle East. The church, guest house and facilities provide a congenial framework for learning, discussion and fellowship. We are really grateful to the Rector, the Rev David Pileggi for all his support.

The Rev David Pileggi at Christ Church, Jaffa Gate

After opening discussions, the group had a most interesting day at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs looking at the current challenges facing the country and in particular the important role of relations with other faiths within the region and beyond. With the land’s dense and complex history, particularly in Jerusalem itself, archaeology and historical research can be very sensitive, as can Israel’s relations with organisations such as UNESCO.

Students at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

The group also visited Bethlehem to see the Governor of Bethlehem, the mayor of Bethlehem and the Minister of Tourism in the Palestinian Authority. There was a lively discussion of the difficulties facing communities in the West Bank – in particular maintaining access by foreign visitors to places like Bethlehem where pilgrimage is of great significance and where tourism is also therefore a key economic sector. Nurturing inter-community relations can have an important role to play.

This year’s programme again included a visit to Hebron to see first hand how the Tomb of Abraham has been adapted to accommodate both a mosque and a synagogue and to allow both Jewish and Muslim visitors to approach the cenotaphs of Abraham and Sarah. The group was also invited to meet with Archbishop Mor Severios Malke Mourad of the Syrian Orthodox Church. They then went to see the real Upper Room of St Mark’s Church, which was very moving.

The Cave of the Patriarchs, which houses the Tomb of Abraham
The real Upper Room at St Mark’s Church

The school has included specific presentations from each of the three Abrahamic faiths: Pastor Naim Khoury from the Baptist Church Bethlehem, Professor Avraham Tsvi from Jerusalem and Sheikh Hatem al-Bakri, Imam of the Abraham Mosque in Hebron. The group also visited Mount Gerizim to learn about the traditions and beliefs of the still flourishing Samaritan community.

Rabbi Michael Melchior

This year, the school also invited speakers from NGOs active in interfaith relations and in humanitarian work within local and international communities. Kids4Peace has been particularly effective in working with school-age children in the different communities in Israel, while the international work of IsraAID touches communities of many persuasions in the region and beyond.

The school again concluded with a discussion led by Dr Petra Heldt of the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity in Israel (ETRFI) which concentrates on interfaith understanding between Jews and Christians.

This report was written by Christopher Segar who sits on FRRME’s Board of Trustees

Amid the horror of the Baghdad bombing, St George’s Clinic endures

July

Last Sunday, a lorry packed with explosives was detonated in the Karrada district of Baghdad. 250 people were killed, with hundreds more wounded. Within hours of the attack, Islamic State claimed responsibility. It was revenge, they said, for the retaking of Falluja by Government forces two weeks prior. As sectarian divisions in Iraq deepen, our clinic in Baghdad, which is situated within the compound of St George’s Church, remains committed to its mission of free, non-sectarian health care.

Established in 2008, St George’s Clinic now treats between 80 and 100 patients every day free of charge. As well as medical care, we also provide dental care and prescriptions. Thanks to your support, the clinic now has its own laboratory and X-Ray machine.

As ever, children are a priority. This week, a young boy called Sajad came into the clinic with severe abdominal pain. He had been vomiting for three months. After a thorough check-up from the clinic’s doctors, Sajad was diagnosed with an abdominal infection, prescribed with the necessary drugs, and is now recovering.

There has never been a more urgent need for humanitarian relief in the Middle East. Please stand with us and support the beleaguered people of Iraq at this difficult time. Below are some key facts about how your donations will help:

FOOD RELIEF

Providing enough food to feed a family of 4 for one week
= £4 per week (USD $6)

MEDICAL AND DENTAL CARE 

We provide services to an average of 80 – 100 patients each day
Doctor’s appointment & treatment = £28 per visit ($42)
Dentist’s appointment & treatment = £22 per visit ($32)

If you would like to help, you can make a 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 our emergency appeal by clicking here.

Thank you,

The FRRME Team
 

Iraqi IDPs and refugees still need your help

June

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.

If you would like to support our work in Northern Iraq, you can make a donation via our website by clicking here, or you can make a donation to The Emergency Appeal for Iraqi Refugees.
Thank you,
The FRRME Team

An update from Jordan

May

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.

Aid reaches Harsham and Debaga camps in Northern Iraq

May

Dear Friends,
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.

If you would like to support our work, please visit the donation page on our website, or make a donation to The Emergency Appeal for Iraqi Refugees. Your continued support makes all the difference. Thank you.

Peace and Love,

Dr Sarah Ahmed
Director of Operations in the Middle East

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

 

Pages: 1 3 4 5 6
Insights from Sarah Ahmed, Director of Operations
Get our news, prayer updates and blog posts straight to your inbox Make a 
<a href=Get our news, prayer updates and blog posts straight to your inbox Signup to receive our e-newsletter

Archives