News from CNEWA Canada

2015 Middle East Report Posted: Feb 17 2016 12:00AM

Your Donations in Action

Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) raised more than $11 million for emergency response initiatives in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan from August 2014 to September 2015.

Funds, which continue to be deployed at present, were collected in Canada, Europe and the United States — with about $1 million from Canadian donors. Below are highlights outlining how these donations were distributed.

The political conflicts in Syria since 2011 and in Iraq since 2003 have created a massive humanitarian crisis affecting millions of innocent families. These conflicts have been heightened by the rise of extremist groups, such as ISIS, which inflame the region even more.

Present in the Middle East for the last 90 years, CNEWA has responded swiftly to these crises by giving special attention to the fragile Christian populations, which are subjected to persecution due to their faith. The very survival of these Christians is at risk.

In Iraq, the number of Christians plummeted from one million in 2003 to fewer than 200,000 today, with half of them displaced because of ISIS. In 2011, more than two million Christians lived in Syria, but today fewer than 1.3 million remain, with half a million internally displaced. Hundreds are still held captive by ISIS in northern Syria.

CNEWA works through the Catholic Eastern churches, utilizing their on-the-ground network of priests, religious and lay professionals to meet the needs of those most in need, especially those who are marginalized, forgotten or ignored.

As millions flee the violence in Iraq and Syria, CNEWA reaches out to those who fear the refugee camps and the potential retribution for registering with the United Nations for assistance. Thus, they are denied the aid that relief organizations make available in the camps. Many of these men, women and children are persecuted minorities, often Christians who rely solely on the local churches for support.

Therefore, most of CNEWA’s emergency aid (94 per cent) has been deployed to support persecuted Christians. Yet, emergency assistance has also assisted Yazidi and Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims refugees in Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan and Lebanon.

In good times and bad, CNEWA’s strength has been to work with the local churches. These bishops, priests, religious sisters and lay people have shown great courage over the past years. Many have been abducted and even killed while ministering to others — becoming the new martyrs.

Here is a brief summary of CNEWA’s humanitarian aid in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan.

CNEWA has collected $2,754,183 (USD) for its emergency programs in Syria.

Healthcare: CNEWA developed a program to provide health care to some 5,500 patients in nine different locations.

Education: CNEWA has facilitated the enrollment of some 5,000 displaced students through provision of school kits and daily breakfasts; support extends to university students by providing them the cost of transportation from their villages to nearby universities.

Emergency Aid: CNEWA provided milk, diapers, winter kits, clothing, food packages, mattresses and blankets to those most in need.

CNEWA has raised $2,397,005 (USD) for aid in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Healthcare: CNEWA has constructed and equipped two dispensaries in Erbil and Dohuk, and two mobile clinics serving villages outside Erbil and refugees living near Zakho; the three facilities in the Erbil area serve an average of 650 patients per day.

Education: CNEWA has furnished a school for some 600 students in Erbil and is providing equipment to a rented school, including operational costs, for at least a year; CNEWA will furnish three other schools for displaced students in Erbil, Dohuk and Zakho.

Emergency Aid: CNEWA provided milk, diapers and winter clothing to 4,985 children in 13 displacement centres.

CNEWA has raised $2,907,342 (USD) for aid in Lebanon since August 2014.

Healthcare: CNEWA has provided some 1,560 patients — Syrian, Iraqi and poor Lebanese — with care and medicines through the Good Shepherd Sisters’ St. Anthony Dispensary and the Karagheusian Center in Bourj Hammoud. CNEWA also provided 450 Syrian displaced mothers with trauma healing and spiritual counselling.

Education: CNEWA offered 1,160 Syrian children as well as 591 Iraqi Christian students with remedial programs, books and tutoring classes. These were implemented with five partners: Good Shepherd Sisters in Deir el Ahmar; the Karagheusian Social Center in Bourj Hammoud; the Joint Christian Committee in Dbayeh camp; the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in Achkout; and the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate in Beirut.

Emergency Aid: Distributing food and non-food packages to 2,235 Iraqi families — including mattresses, blankets, diaper bags and winter kits for children.

With the help of benefactors and donors, CNEWA has raised an additional $487,718 (USD) for programs in Jordan — initiatives that largely help Syrians and Iraqis who face persecution or life-threatening danger.

Healthcare: In the realm of healthcare, these funds have supported two hospitals and a clinic that has provided medical assistance to more than 2,390 refugees and psychological programs benefitting close to 300 Iraqi refugees.

Education: Close to $60,000 US has been invested in education — from summer camps, tutoring classes to faith formation classes and courses in English — which have benefited more than 1,300 persons of all ages.

Emergency Aid: CNEWA continues to distribute essential emergency supplies for refugees who find themselves with lodging — such as empty apartments — without amenities or essential furniture. CNEWA provides basic needs such as mattresses, pillows, blankets and kerosene heaters, which are desperately needed due to cold winter conditions in Jordan. Every day more and more families come knocking at CNEWA’s door for similar assistance.