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.
Oct 8, 2013

Protecting Syria's Children: A Camera Offers New Perspective

Fadi Kaheel uses his new photography skills
Fadi Kaheel uses his new photography skills

As the number of Syrians forced to flee the country's civil war rapidly grows, one number stays the same — over half of them are children.

There are now one million Syrian refugee children. And every day, thousands more are ripped from their homes and schools, left with painful memories of violence and confusion over what they've lost.

Mercy Corps has been focused on protecting these young refugees since the start of the crisis. We've created safe spaces and developed constructive activities where they can heal from trauma, build friendships and develop critical life skills. We are helping meet their families' basic needs, while continually finding new ways to ensure their emotional health and development are not forgotten.

Because of you, Fadi Kaheel, 11, along with other Syrian refugee children in the neighboring country of Lebanon, participated in a recent photography workshop, part of our Moving Forward program there.

The goal of Moving Forward is to help young Syrian refugees — most of whom feel scared and isolated — integrate into their new community and develop self-esteem, teamwork and coping skills by participating with Lebanese children in sports, support groups, and creative projects like theater, filmmaking and photojournalism.

During the photography workshops in particular, these young refugees learn not only the basics of capturing an image, but how to take an active role in their new lives in Lebanon. Through learning, engaging with their peers and documenting their surroundings, the children learn that each new day can be meaningful even as they wait to return to their lives in Syria.

Fadi heard about Mercy Corps’ Moving Forward photography workshop from his aunt and sister. “I was so excited because I was going to learn something new,” he says. For Fadi, the photography workshop also meant making new friends and gaining a deeper understanding of his host community in Lebanon. 

Fadi originally fought with the Lebanese kids in his class because they didn’t understand each other. His instructor taught him how to remain calm and better handle the conflict. By the end of the workshop they had all become friends.

By connecting with others he learned more about Lebanon and started to feel like part of the community. “Sometimes we need to look at different communities and see them and experience them,” says Fadi. Now, with a better understanding of his host community, he is happier in his new home.

After completing the workshop, Fadi says he wants to photograph his family events and teach other kids what he has learned. “I think it would be a good thing to give my knowledge to younger people,” he says.

Thank you for joining Mercy Corps to create safe spaces for young refugees like Fadi and for providing the support and protection they need to emerge from crisis and find hope for the future. Together, we can continue to turn the crises families confront into opportunities to thrive.


With Gratitude,

Carlene Deits

 

Fadi Kaheel
Fadi Kaheel

Links:

Oct 8, 2013

Helping Farmers in Haiti Thrive

Prosper Estivern
Prosper Estivern

Over the past thirty years, Haiti’s forest cover has dramatically decreased and now represents less than two percent of the Haitian territory. 85% of the country’s watersheds are degraded. Erratic rainfall and a six month hurricane and tropical storm season lasting from June to November, leave families in Haiti vulnerable.

BUT, because of your continued support, Mercy Corps is right there to assist them. You are proactively protecting the land from soil erosion and improving crop productivity through agroforestry and soil conservation. You are stabilizing ravines and protecting roadways to ensure access to local markets. And you are continuing to provide agricultural and business training to local farmers, with access to diverse crops.

Your support has helped local farmers like Prosper Estivern (35) produce higher yields and obtain food security. Prosper worked with Mercy Corps in our first year in Haiti to build soil conservation structures in a garden where he previously planted only corn and beans. Now, he harvests sweet potatoes, yucca, sugar cane, plantains and papaya along with several different kinds of tree fruits from the same garden. He received a loan for the outstanding work he has done to keep the soil conservation on his land well maintained.

During visits to the field, we hear positive feedback from communities regarding the difference between the gardens that were protected with soil conservation structures and those that were not. The superior health of the plants in the conserved gardens is noted by many farmers and has solidified some new believers on the importance of soil conservation.

In Sibas, the crowning glory of the conservation work from the communities’ perspective is after last year's heavy rain, when a major ravine cut off their route to Montrouis (their major market outlet), the road was still in perfect shape after four days of heavy rain.

Thank you for your ongoing compassion for families in Haiti and all that you do to help farmers thrive in one of the world's toughest places.

 

With Gratitude,

Carlene Deits


Farmer shows plant
Farmer shows plant's healthy beginning

Links:

Oct 8, 2013

Ya'an: Focusing on Children while Region Recovers

Beneficiary student enjoys school day
Beneficiary student enjoys school day

It is almost six months since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck central China and communities in the region are still recovering. With your help, we continue to provide the immediate assistance families need like water, hygiene kits, and other emergency items. And it is through your compassion and continual support that we take great strides towards long-term recovery.

Young children are especially vulnerable to the traumatic effects of disaster and require a stable environment over a sustained period in order to minimize harm to their healthy development. To that end, Mercy Corps is focusing on three projects to ensure the psychological well-being of children affected by the disaster so they may fully enjoy their bright futures.

With your support, we have been able to move forward on the following critical programs:

  1. Comfort for Kids Program (C4K): This summer, we finalized and printed “My Earthquake Story” workbook and Caregiver Guide.
  2. Moving Forward Program (MF): Like C4K, MF works closely with older youth (9+) who have been impacted by emergencies. Our MF training curricula includes a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) component for school students to help them prepare for future emergencies. The program reaches 4,000 primary and middle school students.
  3. Rebuilding for the future - Kindergartens:  Another focus of Mercy Corps’ recovery programming is promoting stable access to early education by helping kindergartens become resilient to disaster. Mercy Corps has identified 10 pilot schools to serve as models for this project.

Mercy Corps also provides School Supply Kits to 48 impacted kindergarten, elementary, and middle schools in Tianquan and Baoxing counties.* It benefits approximately 9,000 students whose education has been disrupted since the disaster and Includes age appropriate texts, books, toys, games, art supplies, calculators, an electric musical keyboard, computer, printer, projector and screen, and tables and desks.

Thank you for your ongoing compassion for the people still recovering in Sichuan Province. Children and families are building towards a safer and more stable future because of you.

With Gratitude,

Minda Seibert

 

*Although these two counties were not the hardest hit, their schools suffered significantly and they are not receiving as much external support as Lushan County, the site of the quake's epicenter.

 

 

Young children gather in classroom
Young children gather in classroom

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