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Syria still needs our prayers and support

Syria still needs our prayers and support – 30 May 2013

As many of you will have seen on the news, the situation in Syria is now worse than anyone expected. It is estimated that over a third of Syrians have been affected by the civil war. One million have fled the country and three million have been displaced from their homes. Russia has started delivering the missile system to the Syrian government despite Western objections.

Please help us pray for peace in Syria: Copy of our prayer resource for Syria

If you can, please donate to our Syria Crisis Appeal

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister of State Joe Costello ‘got on board’.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister of State Joe Costello ‘got on board’. – 29 May 2013

Irish Aid support the work of Tearfund in Malawi and Myanmar. In Malawi, Tearfund’s programme helps prevent the spread of HIV to newborn babies from HIV infected mothers. Working alongside the local church, Tearfund trains and equips volunteers to become ‘mother buddies’ to young mothers. These mother buddies ensure that the pregnant moms receive the medication and care needed during their pregnancy, sometimes bringing them to the local health centre on bicycle ambulances! Thanks to this programme and the support of Irish Aid, baby Jesse see below was born HIV free to HIV infected parents late last year – a little miracle!

Baby Jesse bicycle ambulance

In Myanmar, Irish Aid supports the rebuilding of livelihoods, improved food security and the reduction in the impact of future disasters for 31 conflict-affected communities in Mon State through local church and community based organisations.

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30 year old woman from Syria mourns for her country

30 year old woman from Syria mourns for her country – 28 Mar 2013

Not a day goes by when Mariam doesn’t mourn for her beleaguered country.

The 30-year-old fled to Jordan from Syria nearly two years ago and now lives in a tent her brother made from scraps of material other people have thrown away.

‘Every morning I wake up and grieve,’ she says. ‘I cry over the ruins of my country.

‘We fled to Jordan because we had nothing to lose in Syria but our souls. Everything at home was destroyed and burned down. The whole situation was intolerable.

‘We had snipers everywhere, at every corner. We needed to survive, to seek a safe haven, so we travelled to Jordan.’

Mariam escaped among a group of 20-30 other refugees, taking 13 hours to leave Syria. She now lives with her brother and his wife in extremely basic conditions.

Million refugees and counting

Her passion to return home remains undiminished: ‘I hope to go back to Syria but it’s going to be many years before we can go back.

‘I learn about the situation in Syria from what people tell me. It is difficult to find out what’s happening there. I just want to go home and live in peace.’

Tearfund partners are helping thousands of refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, providing them with essentials such as blankets and wood burning stoves.

But the need for help is growing as more than a million people have now fled Syria and that figure could treble by the end of the year, according to the UN.

To help people like Mariam rebuild their lives and eventually return home, please Click on our Donate Now button on top of our facebook page to give to Tearfund’s Syria appeal today. Thank you! Your prayers and support are much appreciated.

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Tearfund Staff Respond to Emergency Crisis in Syria

Tearfund Staff Respond to Emergency Crisis in Syria – 27 Feb 2013

Andrew Robinson, who works for a Tearfund partner helping refugees made homeless by the Syrian conflict, reports from Lebanon.
Winter is on everyone’s minds. Relief agencies are concerned with how refugees will survive as many families fled to Lebanon with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.

We speak to Syrians living in crudely-built shelters constructed out of tattered plastic sheets and discarded signs. People speak longingly about the homes they’ve left behind.
Many are deeply traumatised, not knowing who they can trust. They have lost everything – their homes, their livelihoods. They talk about the winter, and they worry about their children with so few blankets to protect them during the cold nights, and no way to heat their shelters.

As a team, we feel a growing sense of responsibility for these families. It has become clear that if we cannot help these families, there is no one else who will. We need to provide them with the most effective relief we can with the limited funds we have.

Nowhere to go
Today I met Wessam, his wife, and their three children. They arrived from Syria 15 days ago and, with nowhere to go, spent their first two nights living on the streets. A kindly Lebanese man invited them to stay in the house he was building. It’s barely a roof over their heads, but they are grateful to have somewhere to stay.
As I talked with Wessam, his baby daughter lay sleeping on a thin mattress on the cold floor. Wessam’s eyes were red, as if he hadn’t been sleeping well, and as we talked, his eyes grew moist. With no money and no job, he worried about how he would provide for his family in the coming months.
A few days later, we return in a lorry. When our truck comes into view, children break into spontaneous cheers and applause. What a moment!
The truck is full of mattresses – tightly roped down and stacked high. Parents hold back their excited children as the truck carefully reverses onto the muddy ground, while my teammates and I look on with big smiles on our faces.

For hours, we hand out blankets and mattresses as part of the relief package we’ve assembled to help families survive the winter.
Exhilarated!
I’m hugely privileged to shake the hands of many of the men – husbands, fathers, and grandfathers – who throughout the morning have come up to me and wordlessly expressed their thanks for what we’ve done. It’s a great day which leaves me both exhilarated and exhausted.

A few days later and the rain is pouring down and I’m soaked to the bone but I’m leaping happily over puddles as I run towards a tall, half-built concrete house, clutching four mattresses close to my chest.

A month has passed since I met Wessam, and I am anxious to find out how he is doing. When I see him, he smiles broadly and slaps my back.
His wife is boiling water on a small gas cooker and Wessam gestures for me to join them for tea. I really want to stay and talk but there are more distributions to be done. For now, I’m just glad to see that Wessam and his family are well.
Our hired truck driver steps into the room carrying a stack of blankets, and Wessam’s smile grows wider. When Mohammed appears with a stove in his hands, Wessam laughs with happiness. It makes my day.

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Syrian terror haunts fleeing family

Syrian terror haunts fleeing family – 26 Feb 2013

Looking around their spartan apartment in Jordan, you can see that Jalil and Adila fled Syria with virtually nothing.

Yet they arrived as refugees carrying a lot of psychological baggage which is likely to linger for a long time.

‘Terrible things happened in our streets,’ Jalil told Tearfund.

‘With my own eyes, I saw people planting bombs in cars and women being raped in the street. I couldn’t let my wife and children live there any longer.

‘Now we live in a bare room with nothing from our past except for our children’s school certificates.’

The family had tried staying in Syria because they knew that to leave would be difficult for them. Jalil has major kidney and bladder illnesses and needs medication and regular treatment, so wanted to stay close to home.

But when their house was bombarded a month ago, they knew it was time to go.
Photo: Eleanor Bentall/Tearfund
Scarred by conflict: Basmah, aged seven, is now afraid when she hears a plane overhead. Photo: Eleanor Bentall/Tearfund

Medical needs

Jalil and Adila brought their daughter Basmah, aged seven, and their sons Talib, six, and Mohamed, five, to Jordan and at first they went to a large refugee camp where 75,000 refugees live in tents.

They weren’t able to stay there long because little Mohamed became so sick that he was turning blue, and they couldn’t get the medical help they needed.

They wandered from place to place, trying to find somewhere safe to stay. They even slept in the street until a kind Jordanian woman saw them and took them to a hotel, paying for them to stay there for two nights.

Eventually, they were found by a local charity which is supported by Tearfund partner Medair which found them this flat to rent.

Slowly, they are starting to rebuild their lives but they still face many challenges.

‘My little boy is suffering from shock and sometimes he walks in his sleep,’ says mum Adila.

‘The children are always afraid and get scared whenever they hear a plane take off. We are not totally living at ease.’

The family want to return to Syria: ‘Going back to our homeland is the dream of everyone,’ says Jalil. ‘No-one wants to stay outside their homeland. I want to go back, but only when it’s safe, especially for the kids.’

  • Names have been changed to protect identities

To make a donation, please click here

  • €22 will privide an electric heater for a family living in sub zero temperatures.
  • €65 will provide bedding and towels for two families.
  • €140 will provide kitchen kits for three families.
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Syrian Crisis Emergency Appeal

Syrian Crisis Emergency Appeal – 12 Feb 2013

Increasing numbers of Syrians are fleeing their homeland as the conflict escalates. Yussef’s family fled Syria at 4 o’clock one morning. They managed to leave with some flour but it will soon run out. They have no income, no healthcare and no certainty over what lies ahead.

Tearfund partners are working to help families like Yussef’s to find food and shelter. They are providing blankets, emergency lights and kitchen utensils to those who have fled, as they fight to rebuild their lives.

h3. To make a donation, please click here
  • €22 will privide an electric heater for a family living in sub zero temperatures.
  • €65 will provide bedding and towels for two families.
  • €140 will provide kitchen kits for three families.

‘At moment’s like these, our urgent call to God’s people is to stand with children like Yussef and bring real hope in God’s name.’ David Weakliam, Tearfund Ireland Chairman.

In the time it has taken you to read this letter, 15 more people will have fled across the Syrian border. They have left everything to find safety.

Please give now to ensure families survive the winter.
In a crisis like this every penny counts.

Be part of a worldwide Christian response and please also pray for the people of Syria.
Thank you

Sharan Kelly
Chief Executive, Ireland

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