Dear friends of the Middle East Children's Alliance I was just in Lebanon and saw first-hand the situation for refugee children and families from Syria, now numbering over one million. I went to tent cities in the Bekaa Valley and to Palestinian refugee camps where families are taking in new refugees and sharing what little they have. Thanks to your generosity, MECA has been able to provide help in the form of quilts, rain boots, baby clothes, diapers, vitamins, and free doctor visits. But the families I met with need much, much more. And hundreds of new families are arriving each week. The living conditions were terrible everywhere but I was truly shocked by the conditions in Shatila, a camp built for 3,000 Palestinians in 1948. It is now home to over 22,000 refugees from Palestine and Syria. Many of the Palestinian families arriving in Shatila explained this is the second Nakba (Arabic for "catastrophe"). They lost their homes in Palestine in 1948 and lived in refugee camps in Syria for decades before losing everything for a second time. Every school we visited had switched to double shifts to accommodate new students. But many more children are unable to attend school because they lack clothes or shoes or because the registration fee is too high. In Ein el Hilweh Refugee Camp, I met Lama, an artist and teacher who has created a project for children to help them express themselves through puppets. The children make their own puppets and then act out their feelings and experiences as well as talking about their identities as refugees. A clinic I visited is running dangerously low on medicine and the staff are unable to carry out many operations and treatments due to lack of funding. They gave MECA a list of medicine and I promised to get it to them. The need was so enormous that there’s no way that a small organization like MECA could fill it. But we are committed to doing as much as we can to try to make life somewhat bearable for refugees in Lebanon. Throughout my trip I met with allies and friends and visited projects that MECA has supported in the past year. Together we made plans to provide more help for refugee families. Our partners will continue distributing milk and diapers to families with young children and personal hygiene items for women. I told them MECA would support educational classes in community centers for the children who can’t go to school and shoes and clothing for children’s who are otherwise eligible to enroll in schools. And I promised to take the lists of medicines like antibiotics and anesthesia and work on sending another medical shipment. Now I need your help again to keep these promises. Please make a secure online contribution now to support this vital work for refugees from Syria. Thank you for your continued generosity,
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