Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Mercy Corps helps people survive, recover and become self-sufficient. We partner with the people we serve to help them recover from disasters and conflicts, secure peace, grow more food, improve health, educate and protect children, empower women and start businesses that improve the standard of living for families and communities.
Jul 31, 2015

Nepal Earthquake Response - 90 Days Later

Tom Van Cakenberghe for Mercy Corps
Tom Van Cakenberghe for Mercy Corps

Saraswati holds the money she received from Mercy Corps. Saraswati plans to use the cash to purchase supplies to build a temporary shelter for her family.

 

It has been three months since the devastating Nepal earthquake. Because of your generous support Mercy Corps has been able to reach over 68,000 people with essential items like food, clean water, shelter supplies and cash.

While we continue to work to meet some of the most immediate needs such as safe water, food support and shelter items, in the next several months we will increasingly shift our focus to longer-term recovery efforts.  Our ultimate goal is to build the resilience of affected communities and to connect people to the resources they need to rebuild even stronger than before the earthquake.

In the past six weeks Mercy Corps has distributed cash to 6,700 households, benefiting close to 34,000 people. In the next month we will reach an additional 19,000 households with cash. This cash assistance allows families to purchase the items that are most important to them — seeds and agricultural tools, food, school fees, building materials — while giving local economies the boost they need for long-term recovery.

What you are making possible is also reflected in these stories and photos.  

Saraswati, pictured above, lives in the Nuwakot district of Nepal with her ten-year-old daughter, her eleven-year-old son, and her husband. On April 25th they were sitting in their home when suddenly they felt the floor and walls shake. They managed to quickly escape, but their home was destroyed.

Saraswati and her family are not alone. Nuwakot is one of the regions that was hit hardest by the quake. Damage in these areas is massive — homes destroyed, livelihoods lost, economies stalled and entire villages leveled. That is why Mercy Corps is working in this district, and other hard hit areas, to get cash and much needed supplies into the hands of families.

Last week Saraswati traveled to Sunkhani to participate in a cash distribution led by Mercy Corps. She received a kit that included a solar lantern, hygiene, shelter, and kitchen supplies as well as the equivalent of $75 in cash. She told Mercy Corps that she planned to use the money to invest in supplies and tools to build a temporary home for her family.  

The following captions relate to the photos below:

(Top) To date Mercy Corps has distributed cash to 6,700 households. This unconditional cash assistance allows families to purchase the items that are most important to them while giving local economies a boost. 

(Middle) In the next month Mercy Corps will reach an additional 19,000 households with cash. Some families plan to use the money to purchase food while others have plan to purchase shelter supplies and supplies for their small businesses. 

(Bottom) In Kritipur, Ram, 39, learns how to purify a large can of water using the water purification liquid from her emergency kit.  Mercy Corps has reached over 68,000 people to date with essential items like food, water purification supplies, shelter supplies and cash.

 

 

 

 

  

Tom Van Cakenberghe for Mercy Corps
Tom Van Cakenberghe for Mercy Corps
Tom Van Cakenberghe for Mercy Corps
Tom Van Cakenberghe for Mercy Corps
Miguel Samper for Mercy Corps
Miguel Samper for Mercy Corps
Jul 22, 2015

Final Update-Saving Lives in Niger, Mali & Sahel

Sean Sheridan for Mercy Corps
Sean Sheridan for Mercy Corps

Earlier this month, Mercy Corps celebrated 10 years of work in Niger in the heart of the Sahel - where our work to save lives is poised for continued growth. Reflecting on the aid we have provided over that time we would like to acknowledge your support and call out just a few accomplishments: 

  • Responding to the food crisis in Niger in 2005, Mercy Corps established four emergency programs working with the community to provide assistance to 28,000 beneficiaries by 2011 and over 250,000 today

 

  • Developing business training and financial inclusion; growing goat herds; fostering gender integration; and facilitating farmer field schools are generating positive results which include:
    • Increased support/knowledge for cooperatives like dairy as well greater seed capital for women to grow their small businesses – both of which helped communities cope with food crisis’ (increasing savings and income and allowed beneficiaries to help others in need)
    • Two years after an increased goat distributions many herders have more than five goats, fueling an increase in commerce and income in addition to improved diets through milk availability and consumption.
    • Development of farmer field schooling are improving farming techniques in primarily agriculturally dependent communities; generating greater gender coordination as participation levels rise among woman; and malnutrition reductions of 80% (Sawki)
    • Regularly scheduled child screenings (under 5) have led to underweight levels of 42.9% in 2013 to 22% in 2015.
  • In neighboring Mali, Mercy Corps has been reducing malnutrition through the Irtoun program which supplies emergency food vouchers in exchange for work doing agricultural improvement projects like building irrigation systems, among other projects. As a result, in Asongo, farmers and gardening groups have access to seeds for crops that will fare well in the markets and help improve household nutrition. So far the groups have purchased 25 tons of seed for their crops.

 

While Mercy Corps will continue work to save lives in Niger, Mali, and the Sahel region, we will no longer report work through this project page on GlobalGiving. We encourage you to continue to change lives and donate through Global Giving and our Help Turn Crisis into Opportunity project. You can also follow our progress in Niger, Mali, and other countries in the Sahel.

We are sincerely grateful for your generous donations and for supporting Mercy Corps’ effort to help people survive and communities thrive in Niger, Mali, and the Sahel!

May 15, 2015

Education brings Syrian + Jordanian Girls Together

  • In Jordan's Zaatari Village, the school for girls used to be overcrowded with both Jordanian and Syrian refugee students. Community leaders worked with Mercy Corps to come up with a solution. Photo: Georg Schaumberger for Mercy Corps

In a small village in north Jordan, Syrian and Jordanian girls sit side by side at school. Each has her very own desk and there is ample space to learn. But until recently, this situation was only a dream.

The Syrian war, which began in March 2011, forced almost four million Syrians to flee their home country. Most have found shelter in Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey or Jordan, where many have family members.

Some live in refugee camps, like nearby Zaatari camp, but most Syrian refugees live in towns or cities alongside their host community neighbors.

Since Syrians began fleeing nearly four years ago, Zaatari Village has doubled in population due to the influx of refugees. It has gone from a small town of 10,000 to one with over 20,000 people.

This drastic change has created a high demand for local services, including education. With a new, larger population, the school in Zaatari Village was unable to accommodate all of the Syrian girls who wanted to attend school.

Those who were able to attend experienced overcrowding and tension between refugees and Jordanians.

“The school was really crowded, we had to sit in crowded classrooms and everyone was very uncomfortable,” said Raghad, 15, who is Jordanian from Zaatari. “There was a lot of fighting.”


Heba is a Syrian refugee who now lives in Zaatari Village with her family and attends the local school for girls. Photo: Sumaya Agha for Mercy Corps

Heba, 18, fled Homs, Syria with her parents, two brothers and her sister, settling in Zaatari Village to wait for an end to the conflict. “When we first arrived in Jordan, it was difficult to study because of the large number of students,” she said. “We could not understand what was going on and it was impossible to participate.”

Mercy Corps has been in Zaatari Village for two years, working with local people in conflict management training. The training helps both Jordanian and Syrian community leaders resolve tensions that arise in the village.

They are taught how to identify the source of a problem, come up with an effective solution, and then develop a proposal. From there, Mercy Corps discusses the community leaders’ ideas with the local government.


The new girls' school in Zaatari Village can hold 120 more female students and gives everyone the space and tools they need to learn. Photo: Mercy Corps

The leaders saw the problem at the girls’ school and proposed a solution — building a new girls’ school that could serve 120 more female students. Mercy Corps decided to fund the construction of the school, and the Ministry of Education agreed to provide the teachers.

To make the new school their own, students worked with AptART (Awareness & Prevention Through Art) to design and paint a beautiful mural on the side of the building. Just as the community leaders had hoped, the school is making a world of difference to both Syrian and Jordanian girls living in Zaatari Village.


Heba and Raghad show a Mercy Corps team member where they painted on the school's mural. Photo: Georg Schaumberger for Mercy Corps

“Syrian students are now involved in all activities, we are treated the same as Jordanian students,” said Heba. “We are participating in everything, not just sitting.” Heba's favorite subjects in school are math, chemistry and physics. She also told us that she loves learning all languages in the new and improved school.

Raghad, who lives in the village with her parents and two brothers, understands why the new school is making such a big difference for the community. “Before, the Syrian refugees did not fit in – it was too overcrowded and there was fighting over seats,” she said.

“Now, there is a much better atmosphere. We have more space and we have good relationships, and we can all learn and participate.”


In the new school, each girls sits at her own desk and has space to learn. The improved learning conditions have greatly eased tensions between Jordanian students and Syrian refugees. Photo: Georg Schaumberger for Mercy Corps

During his recent six-day tour of the Middle East, The Prince of Wales visited the girls' school and other projects in Zaatari Village that Mercy Corps has helped community leaders build. Throughout his visit, The Prince learned about how the conflict management training is helping communities, and why this work is so important to both Syrian and Jordanian families.

With the improved girls’ school up and running, tensions between young Syrian refugees and their Jordanian classmates have eased, and the community leaders can be proud of what they’ve accomplished by working together.

With Mercy Corps’ conflict management training under their belts, the leaders of Zaatari Village are ready and willing to create more positive changes in their community.

 

 

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