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May 19, 2017

Medical supplies, hygiene kits and more

With donations from you, MECA was able to partner with Medical Teams International to prepare a 40 foot container with nearly $1 million in medical supplies and equipment for hospitals and clinics in Lebanon serving refugees from Syria and hundreds of hygiene kits for Syrian refugee families. The shipment left Seattle this week and will arrive to Lebanon in six weeks.

The items in the shipment were requested by organizations working in Lebanon. One of the our local partners says:

"Children of Al-Jalil Center found a great partner with MECA based on our shared goals of helping displaced people and those in need. Together, we are meeting basic needs of families from Syria, helping them to survive and live with dignity."

—Ali Taha, Executive Director, Children of Al Jalil Center, Beqaa, Lebanon

We will update you when the shipment arrives in Lebanon!

With your support, we also continue to support education projects for Syrian refugee children who are unable to attend local schools. These informal schools provide more than 250 children the opportunity to access their right to education through classes in Arabic reading and writing, English, math. 

I feel proud and happy whenever I wake up from sleep to go to the center to learn something new every day. I hope to get an official certificate so I can continue in Syria, enter the university, realize my dreams, and help the rebuilding of my homeland.

Shafak, Syrian refugee, age 13

May 12, 2017

Clean water at another school in Gaza!

Water purification unit delivered to school!
Water purification unit delivered to school!

This week another water purification and desalination unit was installed at a UN school in Gaza! The funds for the unit were provided by Zam Zam Water. The school has approximately 2000 students attending in two shifts and more than 50 teachers who will also benefit from the unit. Our staff in Gaza report "The school staff and students are very happy and excited to use it!"

Later this month, three additional units will be installed in preschools in Gaza. In response to the electricity crisis in Gaza which leaves most areas with only 3-4 hours of electricity each day meaning the water purification units can't work all day, we have increased the size of the water storage tanks to ensure there is enough drinking water for the children. 

Your contributions are being put to use to cover additional unexpected expenses for the new units (like larger storage tanks or additional filters in high salinity areas), hire local staff in Gaza who do regular water quality testing at all the schools and preschools where we have installed units (more than 70 locations!), follow up with engineers on any necessary repairs or maintenance, lead water education workshops for students, and identify locations for new water units. 

Amal, an engineer and our Maia Project Coordinator in Gaza, explains the workshops she organizes:

"First we present about water problems in Palestine and specifically in Gaza including the root causes of these problems. We discuss about the results of the water crisis on our health and how can we deal with this problem and conserve water. I also explain why MECA and the different solidarity groups and individuals raise funds to build the purification and desalination units in the schools and kindergarten in Gaza. And then I explain what they can do as students to take care of the units so they continue to provide clean, safe drinking water for years to come. Finally we end with a song written and performed by children from the Peace Choir project that MECA supported about our right to clean water." 

Student participation in workshops is key
Student participation in workshops is key
These students now have access to clean water
These students now have access to clean water
Jan 5, 2017

Winter Aid for Refugee Families in Lebanon

Distributing gas for heaters
Distributing gas for heaters

In December, MECA provided funding for a "Warm Winters" project to distribute gas for heaters to 500 families and food and hygiene coupons to 100 families living the Bekaa Valley area of Lebanon.

The staff at Al Jalil Center who organized and implemented the project after surveying families for their needs commented that "We searched for the families who left everything behind them, to come to the Beqaa, especially the Aljalil camp. Our duty is to support this kind of vulnerable families in aid. Especially during these winter days that are icey, stormy, and bitterly cold."

One of the beneficiaries is a young couple from Syria who left everything and came to Lebanon illegally. They arrived in November 2016 to Waivel Refugee Camp with nothing - no clothing, no bedding, no papers. Different individuals and organizations provided them with a mattress, blankets, and a heater. Then Al Jalil Center provided them with gas for their heater and a voucher to purchase basic food and hygiene items from one of the local shops. 

We also continue to support programs at two locations in Lebanon providing informal schooling for Syrian refugee children who are unable to attend the local schools because they have fallen too behind, don't have the correct paperwork, or are not able to pay the registration fees. 

Purchasing food and hygiene items with vouchers
Purchasing food and hygiene items with vouchers
A classroom for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon
A classroom for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon
One of the students at an informal school
One of the students at an informal school
 
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