Christian World Service is appealing for prayers and action for all those affected by the tragic conflict in Syria. Three years on from the start of the conflict, Syrians and Palestinian refugees are fearful for the future and in desperate need of more support. More than 2.5 million people have fled the conflict and over 130,000 have been killed. A further 6 million people have been displaced within Syria. The neighbouring countries of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey are carrying a huge burden. Jordan estimates it has spent US$7 billion on responding to the new refugees. Access to desperately needed humanitarian relief is blocked or extremely difficult within Syria. With around 6,000 new refugees a day, the demand for humanitarian aid is unparalleled.
CWS invites people and churches to pray for peace, renewed diplomatic efforts, and the protection of people who are facing indiscriminate violence and harsh living conditions within Syria.
“The deepening crisis is a call to action. We cannot forget those who are on the losing end of this bitter conflict. CWS is asking people to pray for and support the innocent women, men and children who lack food, shelter and security,” says Pauline McKay, National Director of Christian World Service.
CWS partner the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) is working in Jordan and Lebanon with Syrian refugees and Palestinian refugees formerly living Syria. They are providing practical help and support. By the end of February DSPR had distributed 26,000 parcels of food, blankets, hygiene and sanitation kits, water containers and infant kits in Jordan, the main focus of CWS’s aid efforts in the region.
Finding a place and purpose for the refugees has been important when so much of their life is in turmoil. “Working with DSPR as a volunteer enriched my experience and helped me face my suffering better,” said one participant in a training programme.
DSPR is running regular training programmes for groups of children which include painting and fun activities and young people including conflict resolution, problem solving and communication skills. They have formed women’s committees, trained trainers to run mother support groups and provided health and nutrition training. Involving the beneficiaries in these programmes is one of the keys to respecting the dignity of those needing help and ensuring appropriate accountability.
CWS has sent nearly $100,000 through the ACT Alliance for DSPR’s work with help from the New Zealand Government, the Quakers and the Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches and individual supporters.
Donations to the Syria Appeal can be made: here, sent to PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140 or by calling 0800 74 73 72
14 March 2014