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Syria, a Christian Response

Syria, a Christian Response – 21 Dec 2016

The news coming from Syria is horrific. More and more stories of the horror people are facing in Aleppo are beginning to be told. As we know, Syria is one of the most complex and dynamic humanitarian crises in the world today.

This Christmas around 65.3 million people around the world will be far from home, living as refugees due to conflict or persecution.

Syria’s conflict has contributed to the worst refugee crisis the world has seen since the Second World War. The suffering of the most vulnerable, especially women and children experiencing war, poverty and injustice, is astounding. Over 250,000 people have been killed since 2011 and over 2.4 million Syrian children are out of school or at a risk of dropping out. 11.3 million Syrians have fled their homes and 9 children die every day in Syria. These numbers are overwhelming and the need is great.

Tearfund Ireland has been responding to this crisis since 2014. We been working through local partners with the aim of meeting the humanitarian needs of people affected by this conflict. Focus has been on: food assistance though cash, food parcels or vouchers; provision of essential non-food items (NFIs) such as cooking utensils, bedding, hygiene kits, blankets and heaters; formal and non-formal education as well as Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs); physical, mental, psychosocial and trauma care services; and support for housing as large numbers of refugees reside in urban areas, rather than camps.

We will continue our work in this area and in continue following Jesus right to the centre of the darkest places on earth, supporting people whose need is greatest.

‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ John 1:5

Photo: A mother holds her baby at a 3 day trauma workshop in a church in Jordan. Image: Stella Chetham/Tearfund

References: UNHCR, UNICEF, UNOCHA, withsyria.com

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Yemen Appeal

Yemen Appeal – 21 Dec 2016

18.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in what has been assessed as the ‘the world’s worst humanitarian crisis’.

Conflict has devastated the nation leaving thousands of innocent civilians dead and three-quarters of Yemenis without access to safe water, food, healthcare or sanitation.

A situation of deadly airstrikes, destroyed infrastructure and a desperate lack of food and water has been worsened by flooding and landslides since July, with many people losing their homes.

Despite a very difficult operating environment, Tearfund Ireland have partners on the ground who are working to reach those suffering from the conflict.

Please give to help alleviate the suffering of innocent Yemenis caught in the crossfire of this conflict.

Prayer points:

  • Pray and petition God for peace in Yemen, so that those who are suffering can receive the help they need.
  • Pray for the safety of all our partners working in Yemen as they help with providing humanitarian assistance.
  • Pray for wisdom for the Irish government as it considers our response as a nation.

Click here to download a prayer power point for Yemen that can be used by churches, groups or individuals.

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A word from our CEO this Christmas..

A word from our CEO this Christmas.. – 21 Dec 2016

Christmas has always centred on families. Beginning with probably the most famous, sacred family, that very first Christmas. They faced danger on all sides, as so many families do today. The suffering we’ve seen this year has been heart breaking, especially for the most vulnerable families around the world who are experiencing persecution, conflict or natural disasters.

However, when Jesus was born he brought with him new hope, in the most inconceivable demonstration of the Father’s love. This Christmas a gift towards our work is an opportunity to express God’s love to families in desperate need.

My thoughts turn to the families in Ethiopia who are setting up self-help saving groups with our support. I also think of families in Haiti who suffered another blow this year when Hurricane Matthew struck.

For families forced to flee violence, in places like Syria, our work to help people to overcome the horror of their experience is just as important as the blankets, food and shelter that they desperately need. It encourages families not to give up and helps them move on, care and understanding is so important at this time.

With so many people experiencing such acute suffering we need to do so much more. Like setting up more self-help groups, expanding this work from Ethiopia into Malawi and Tanzania too.

Your gift this Christmas of €37, for example, could provide another self-help group facilitator in a remote area – opening up a route out of poverty for more families. No matter where your gift is used, you will be supporting projects aimed at long-term transformation.

With your help we can continue following Jesus right to the centre of the storm, supporting families whose need is greatest. A gift of €37 could pay for hygiene kits for two refugee families, providing essentials such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, sanitary towels and nappies

This Christmas please join us as we pray for God to strengthen families around the world, that they would be united and able to remain standing, no matter what. Thank you so much for your support.

Bless you and your family this Christmas,

Sharan Kelly
Chief Executive, Tearfund Ireland

Click here to donate to the work of Tearfund Ireland

  • €37 could pay for hygiene kits for two refugee families, providing essentials such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, sanitary towels and nappies.
  • €72 could give a family a source of nutritious food by providing them with tools and seeds to plant essential crops.
  • €93 could pay for a water tank, giving a whole community ongoing access to safe water.
  • €146 could provide three families with a heater to survive the biting cold in their makeshift shelters.
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Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti

Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti – 11 Oct 2016

Hurricane Matthew entered Haiti from the south-western coast, 230km southeast of the capital Port-au-Prince with violent winds near 220 km/h causing devastating impact, flash floods and mud slides. While all of Haiti’s 10 million people were affected by this storm, some 3-5 million are suffering while the most vulnerable are the 60,000 still living in camps set up for those displaced by the 2010 earthquake. 1,500 churches and schools opened their doors to provide shelter in preparation for the hurricane. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Before the earthquake in 2010, 77 per cent of the population were living in poverty.

Currently the death toll is estimated at 900 lives and there are fears of a cholera epidemic. 

In the image above there is a cross still standing in the centre and it reminds us of what we do at Tearfund Ireland - bring good news to the poor, material help and spiritual hope in some of the world’s most challenging situations.​ While this week Haiti is ​predominately on our minds and the suffering caused by the hurricane, we are reminded that it is one of many challenging situations​.​ The list is long and we are ​acutely aware of the great need of refugees spilling into ​countries ​surrounding​ Syria and the drought impacting ​​parts of Ethiopia​ putting millions of people at risk of severe malnutrition and famine​

We are receiving regular updates on the situation. In the meantime Tearfund Ireland and our Integral* partners are providing food and essential items on the ground in Haiti. The priority is to identify, together with community leaders, the most vulnerable households affected by this hurricane and to respond appropriately.

We would ask that you please pray for the people of Haiti and their needs right now which are:​

Safe access to food and fresh water with flooding and food stocks destroyed. 
Assistance with hygiene and sanitation, especially while there is serious risk of a cholera outbreak.
Shelter, with thousands of homes either destroyed or seriously damaged.
Agriculture and livestock. Crops have been destroyed and many cattle have been washed away.

Click here to download a prayer resource for your church, prayer group or Bible study.

If you would like to help Tearfund Ireland respond to challenging situations like Hurricane Matthew in Haiti​ the Refugee Crisis in the Middle East, and food crisis in Ethiopia,​ please consider giving a gift to our ongoing work.

*Integral Alliance are a global network of 23 Christian relief and development agencies from around the world, working together in 85 counties with 600 local partners

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A harvest of the heart can help put a stop to hunger

A harvest of the heart can help put a stop to hunger – 23 Sep 2016

It is frightening to think that Ethiopia and its surrounding countries are facing a food crisis as devastating as the one that made the headlines in the 1980s. While we celebrate the blessing of harvest time, countless people are suffering – so we are asking you to stand with our brothers and sisters in need and join us in making a real difference.

The situation in Ethiopia has tragically deteriorated in recent months. UN Special Envoy for Climate Change, Mary Robinson, visited recently. ‘This is an extraordinarily serious crisis and it is much worse than people realise.’ she said. ‘The impacts of climate change have weakened people’s ability to cope.’

Jesus calls us to where suffering and despair are greatest, to show people they are not forgotten, to support them and restore their sense of hope. With the threat of famine growing in Ethiopia and across the Sahel – huge numbers of people – women and children and whole families, are at risk of extreme hunger – this is a place where our response will be critical.

An estimated 10.2 million people need help, urgently.

In Ethiopia alone over two million children and mothers are already suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Triggered by El Niño, the drought is having a significant impact by limiting agricultural production, straining livelihoods, and intensifying food insecurity – especially for the poorest and most vulnerable people.

This is a place where your prayers and donations can make a life saving difference. We have already begun work in Wolaita and Sidama in the south-west of Ethiopia, areas which are priority hotspots in this current crisis – but we are depending on all of our supporters to be effective in our response.

If you can search your heart and consider supporting our harvest appeal, the change in someone’s life could be truly amazing. Tearfund has set up a system of self-help groups in Ethiopia where small groups of people, each one living in desperate poverty, are able to start making a living which puts their family on a far more hopeful course. Right now a gift of €35 can help provide a new self-help group with a facilitator to ensure the group is successful.

These incredibly vulnerable people are able to support each other financially and with mutual encouragement.

Members of existing groups have been more resilient to drought than some of their neighbours – but the size of the current emergency means that even they are in danger of losing everything they have worked so tirelessly for.

A harvest of the heart can help put a stop to hunger.

Please support our harvest appeal and support people to not only survive the famine, but also start to thrive. However you decide to give, through your prayers, a gift or a regular donation please know that you will be helping give families a way to transform their lives and escape hunger.

This harvest let us unite in prayer and ask God to impact the lives of people in Ethiopia and around the world – that they would have deep in their hearts, despite their suffering, a real sense of hope for the future.

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Emergency Crisis: Over 10 million impacted by Ethiopian Drought

Emergency Crisis: Over 10 million impacted by Ethiopian Drought – 7 Jul 2016

Ethiopia and surrounding countries face a crisis considered the worst the region has known since the 1980’s. It is estimated that 10.2 million people are in need of food assistance and 2 million children and mothers are suffering from severe malnutrition

Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy for Climate Change is visiting the region this week:

“Despite the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners, the impacts of climate change have weakened people’s ability to cope”

Tearfund Ireland is determined to strengthen Ethiopian communities so they are more resilient in the face of climate change and disasters such as drought. Key to our strategy is self-help groups, through which vulnerable people support each other financially and with mutual encouragement. Irish Aid is supporting Tearfund Ireland’s work in Wolaita and Sidama in the south-west of Ethiopia, areas which are also priority hotspots in this current crisis.

Members of existing groups have been more resilient to drought than some of their neighbours – but the size of the emergency means that even they are vulnerable to losing hard-earned resources.

While the media has been occupied with Brexit, an emergency of this magnitude affecting over 10 million people is forgotten. Let us not forget those who are in danger of losing their livelihoods, health and lives.

Please give what you can to our emergency fund today and help countries like Ethiopia stand firm in the face of disaster.

A gift of €35 will help provide a self help group facilitator in a rural area.

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