“My neighbors are like qishda wa aisal,” Um Samer happily told me, using a phrase that literally translates to “cream and honey.”
She was referring to her new neighbors’ collective kindness. After the Syrian family found shelter in an empty home in Azraq, a small town in northeast Jordan, her neighbors filled the kitchen with a stove and all of the pots, pans and dishes that she needs to cook for her family of 13.
Some members of the family escaped the war raging in their hometown of Dara’a, Syria as long ago as July 2012. On the day of our visit, Um Samer was cooking breakfast and celebrating finally having her family all together again — her eldest son, Muhamed, 34, arrived just 15 days earlier after fighting with the Free Syrian Army.
The four-room house is now a home away from home for Um Samer and her husband Abu Samer, their seven children ranging in ages 15-34, and their four granddaughters from 10 years old to as young as five months. I was there, along with Mercy Corps field officer Zeid Shaban, after delivering winter supplies and furnishings to help make the house a safer shelter for the entire family.
Derelict buildings can't protect against coldest winter in decades
Like Samer’s family, thousands of Syrians have resorted to living in derelict buildings for the little, if any, rent they can afford. Damaged roofs, cracked walls, drafty windows and a lack of heat make them incredibly vulnerable to what’s already one of the coldest winters on record in the region.
Mercy Corps is helping this family and thousands of other Syrian refugees and Jordanians in need keep warm, through a winter preparedness program supported by you. In communities where there are few resources, we’re distributing kits that include a gas heater, coupons for fuel, mattresses, blankets, pillows and sets of bedding. We are augmenting our existing efforts to provide vulnerable families with basic necessities by distributing warm jackets & winter boots for babies and children who are particularly vulnerable to the frigid temperatures.
“Everything that Mercy Corps has donated is a great help,” Abu Samer told me. “It reduces the financial burden on us to have to buy these things ourselves. Especially during the winter season, everything is helping us a lot, keeping us warm.”
You have made an incredible difference in the lives of Syrian refugees this year, from providing clean water and warm blankets to creating safe places for young refugees to play. And, there is still time left to make more of an impact this year. You will provide winter coats to children who would otherwise be unprotected from exposure to subzero temperatures and you will help insulate shelters to protect families from harsh winter winds.
On behalf of all the Syrian refugee families who are relying on you to survive this harsh winter - thank you.
A whole generation of Syrian children has been displaced by civil war. When it's a disaster of this scale, I know it can feel overwhelming. But you just have to be a hero for one child. One family.
That’s what you will be when you choose to become a monthly giver on GlobalGiving. And right now is the ideal time because now until December 31st GlobalGiving is offering a 100% match of your first monthly contribution.
As the civil war in Syria reaches the third year mark, the needs of Syrian refugee families continue to increase and it will be your regular, unwavering monthly support that will get them through the hard winter months.
Just look at what a difference your gift can make for families in need — your monthly support will help:
You'll rush lifesaving essentials, like clean water, nutritious food and a safe place to sleep, to Syrian refugee children. And as long as you're standing with us, I'm certain we'll be able to help them get back on their feet — whatever it takes.
On behalf of every child who is counting on us to be there, thank you so much for your support.
Mercy Corps Founder
Today until December 31st at 11:59pm EST you can double the support being sent to Syrian refugee families. Simply click on the monthly recurring tab on the top right side of the project page when you make your contribution. You can assure that not only are the immediate needs of Syrian refugees families' needs are met, but that they are given the space to begin to heal and rebuild their lives.
Thank you for your support. Because you have put your caring into action, we are able to make a positive impact on refugee families' lives in Lebanon and Jordan, creating safe spaces for young children affected by the crisis and distributing essentials like clothing, blankets, mattresses and infant care supplies to families who have lost everything. To show our appreciation, we'd like to share a video depicting the incredible work you and your fellow donors accomplish in Syria and around the world.
See it here!
Together, we help people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities they deserve.
On behalf of the families you help around the world - thank you.
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.
Fleeing across the border with the little they can carry, Syrian refugee families have lost everything in the brutal, ongoing civil war. But you made sure they are not alone. You helped provide safe shelter and warm clothing to survive the harsh winter. You helped supply clean water and emotional support for mothers, fathers and children enduring the unimaginable.
In this short video, see how your gift to Mercy Corps has made a difference for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.
Click here to watch the video There is no quick solution or end to this crisis. The consequences of Syria's war are heartbreaking on a massive scale. But when I think of your compassion, I have hope because I know we are there, together, providing the help refugees need until they can return home. Follow the latest updates on our response to the Syrian refugee crisis On behalf of our teams in the region and the families you're helping, thank you.
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