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.
Sep 17, 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 continues to rapidly grow, 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 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 kids in sports, support groups, and creative projects like theater, filmmaking and photojournalism.

During the photography workshops in particular, the youth 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 be calm and better handle the conflict, and 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.

Now that he has completed the workshop, Fadi wants to photograph his family events. And he might 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:

Sep 16, 2013

Ethiopia - Saving Lives and Improving Healthcare for the Long term

Baby Hawa Mumin held by her aunt Nima Hassan
Baby Hawa Mumin held by her aunt Nima Hassan

Part of Mercy Corps’ strategy is to ensure that all programs have long-term community impact. In Ethiopia, for example, we coordinate our integrated health and nutrition activities with the government ministries that deal with emergencies and health. This cooperation goes beyond just coordinating with the government; our mobile health teams each incorporate government staff to teach them practical skills for treating malnutrition in infants and mothers in remote areas of the region. Our goal is to ensure that government health facilities integrate the services provided by the mobile team into their routine health services, so that even when outside funding is no longer available, the benefits to communities will continue.

Through your support, we worked with Fardosa Aden (25 y.o.), a government health nurse at Afdam Woreda’s health and stabilization center. She completed her one month rotation with Mercy Corps’ mobile health team earlier this year and will be going back to work in the mother/child health unit at the clinic. She graduated in nursing in 2011 and has experience with midwifery, though she’d like to go back to school to complete a three-year degree. “I have always wanted to help people,” she says.

Because of you, Fardosa saved six month-old orphan Hawa Mumin taken to the center by her aunt Nima Hassan. Nima Hassan has four children of her own and is also taking care of baby Hawa’s seven other orphaned siblings. Hawa’s mother died in childbirth and her father passed away following a car accident.

A health post worker in Nima’s village Biki suggested she take the listless baby to the Mercy Corps’ mobile health team for help. The team examined the baby and diagnosed her with severe, acute malnourishment. Due to her deteriorated condition and lack of appetite, she was rushed to the government stabilization center where Fardosa works. Normally, an infant has her mother’s milk, in addition to a fortified milk product used to help them gain weight and absorb more nutrients. Without her mother’s milk, Fardosa and her team gave Hawa the fortified milk every two hours around the clock. Because of their diligence, Hawa is now smiling and eating again. “I’m feeling great pleasure when I see the baby now,” Fardosa says with a smile.

Thank you for joining Mercy Corps to work with government nurses like Fardosa who save lives every day. Because of you, baby Hawa is on the path to recovery.

 

With Gratitude,

Carlene Deits

 

 

Fardosa Aden
Fardosa Aden
Upper arm band used to check for malnutrition
Upper arm band used to check for malnutrition

Links:

Jul 10, 2013

Your impact: Women entrepreneurs in Haiti

Bilha and her beauty salon and cosmetology school
Bilha and her beauty salon and cosmetology school

Starting their own business, for many people I know, is a lifelong dream and a satisfying professional choice. Here in the U.S., plentiful resources — from community colleges to internet cafes — help aspiring entrepreneurs launch their ideas. Not so in Haiti, where starting a business may be the only way to survive, and help is scarce. That's why entrepreneurs there must be so tenacious and motivated.

Take Bilha. She started working in her mother's store when she was just a child. Later, as a secretarial student, she sold supplies to her classmates. Soon she began selling clothing, shoes and makeup door-to-door. Then, after the devastating 2010 earthquake, she rented a storefront for her goods and added a beauty salon. Now, with your help, she's repairing and expanding her salon and opening a cosmetology school.

You have helped Bilha take those critical next steps to build a business that can sustain her for years to come. Your donation supports a Mercy Corps program that's helping this smart,  hardworking Haitian woman write a business plan, get a loan and learn the basics of finance, human resources and marketing — the skills she needs to succeed.

This new knowledge, coupled with the vision and determination she has had all along, is giving Bilha a big boost. "In Haiti," she says, "a female entrepreneur has to have a lot of brains to get ahead, because we are marginalized, we are underestimated. It's up to you to prove yourself." She should know — there's no doubt Bilha is following her own advice. I hope you feel as proud as I do to be her partner.

Get to know Bilha in a short two-minute video 

Thank you for helping self-starting businesswomen like Bilha get back to work after life's most shattering setbacks. With their unstoppable perseverance and your loyal support, the shops and schools and salons of Haiti are once again opening for business.

Sincerely,

Dan O'Neill

Dan O'Neill
Founder

Bilha working with a customer in Haiti
Bilha working with a customer in Haiti
Bilha mentoring a student
Bilha mentoring a student

Links:

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