Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria

by Middle East Children's Alliance
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Emergency Aid for Children Fleeing Syria
Entrance to "Children of Jalil Center" our partner
Entrance to "Children of Jalil Center" our partner

Thanks to your generosity, we have been able to support an important project called "Hand to Hand" to provide relief to 500 families from the cold winter. The project is in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon close to the border with Syria where more than 400,000 people have settled after fleeing the violence in Syria.

The situation is dire for these families and has been exacerbated by a cold winter and severe storms. At least four Syrian refugees in Lebanon have died from the cold.

"The worst is at night," Asma, an eight year old refugee living in the Bekaa valley confided. "Sometimes I do not feel my feet and I am scared. Blankets are humid and we do not have wood to light a fire."

We are working with a community organization that has a strong track record in the area and provides relief and educational programming for families and children.

With a grant from MECA, they are purchasing and distributing warm children's clothing and gas for heaters to 500 refugee families. We are coordinating with other relief agencies to make sure we are reaching families in need who haven't been reached.

We will provide more details about the distribution and the families who received aid thanks to your support in the coming weeks and months. 

Distribution point for Hand to Hand project
Distribution point for Hand to Hand project
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Children in Baalbeck with their new clothes
Children in Baalbeck with their new clothes

"“We kept asking Syrians what they needed. Education was their first priority. The schools – in tents, anywhere – was what they wanted. You can see cities destroyed, but you can’t have a generation destroyed.” - Maria Assi quoted in Robert Fisk article The 200,000 Syrian child refugees forced into slave labour in Lebanon

With your support, MECA is providing school supplies and shoes for 360 children who fled the violence in Syria with their families and are now being sheltered in Shatila and Nahr El-Bared Refugee Camps in Lebanon. The schools are providing the students with textbooks for free but many families cannot afford the notebooks, pens, and paper as well as math tools like rulers and compasses that their children need to take notes and complete their assignments. MECA is providing the funds to purchase these stationary kits as well as to outfit each child with a new pair of shoes.

Mahmoud from the Child and Youth Center (CYC) explains,  "The most current needs during this period is the protection of the education year for the children. We all have to do our best to help the children to continue to learn." 

Most of these 360 children are taking supplementary remedial education courses at CYC's centers in order to catch up to the level of their age group. CYC mixes education and other activities with the aim of encouraging the children not to drop out of school. It's an uphill battle but these supplies will be another way of providing the children and their families with the encouragement to continue going to school inspite of the many challenges.

Approximately 100 of these children have already dropped out of school but are taking educational courses to learn reading, computers, and other vocational skills. 

MECA also provided clothing to 140 children who are refugees from Syria living in the Baalbeck and Waivel Camp in Lebanon. There are 937 families seeking refuge from the war in Syria in this area, with more arriving every day. MECA staff visited a center in Baalbeck last spring that is providing food, hygiene kits, and psychosocial activities for refugee families with a focus on children. Their first request to MECA was to help them purchase clothing for children.

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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,




Barbara Lubin

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Thanks so much for helping the Middle East Children's Alliance to provide necessities for Syrian refugees. We have been putting your donations to work in Lebanon where an estimated 900,000 refugees from Syria are currently living in horrid conditions.

In partnership with ANERA, we are sending a shipment of 60,000+ bottles of baby shampoo and soap that will be distributed across Lebanon through clinics and community organizations. The shipment is en route now.

We also made a grant to Ajial, a local community organization in Lebanon that we have partnered with on aid shipments for Palestinian, Iraqi, and Syrian refugees in Lebanon for the last 3 years. Ajial's staff and volunteers are purchasing and distributing rain boots for children and blankets and bed sheets to refugee families. 

At the same time, MECA's director is planning a trip to Lebanon to see the conditions in different refugee camps and towns and meet with local organizations to discuss how we can continue to best support children and families seeking refuge from the violence in Syria. 

We will post photos when they are available and keep you updated about our plans.

Thank you again for your support!

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Organization Information

Middle East Children's Alliance

Location: Berkeley, CA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @MECAforPeace
Project Leader:
Josie Shields-Stromsness
Berkeley , CA United States

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