Non - Government Refugee Sponsorship - MCC (Mennonite Central Committee)
Mortars may be falling in the morning - the unpredictable reality of life in Syria after more than four years of conflict, where the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) partners with the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC).
In Daraa, where one of MECC’s offices is located, they might only get water once or twice a week. Unreliable electricity means they need generators to charge computers and cell phones, and deliveries of relief supplies are more expensive because of high gas prices.
And yet hours after mortars have fallen, MCC’s local partners head back to work.
In this difficult context, MECC continues to provide much needed humanitarian relief to both internally displaced people and the communities hosting them. “We know that we are working in a risky situation, but at the same time keeping our presence in difficult places like Daraa gives an indirect hope to people who are still living there,” says the program director.
Since 2012 MCC has partnered with MECC in Syria to distribute items such as hygiene supplies, blankets, winter clothing and heaters. In Daraa Gonoverate from June to September MECC provided hygiene kits, children’s clothing and feminine hygiene supplies to 4,300 households. These distributions were done with a $1.5 million grant from the Government of Canada.
Those items help to lighten the load for people who fled the conflict and have been living for years with limited resources. As children grow every year and need new clothing, which is very expensive, these distributions of household items can help alleviate the economic burden.
In countries like Syria, it’s only through partnerships with local organizations that MCC is able to do this work. Local partners understand and work within security constraints, and also have longstanding connections in communities like Daraa. The director emphasizes the good relations with everyone, pointing out that the trust built over the last few years is the basis of their ability to work effectively.
Part of the relationship is getting input from people receiving the supplies. MECC has an extensive database documenting the needs of each family registered with them. They also have volunteers who are displaced themselves that consult with others and report back about what the needs are.
This makes sure that MCC’s programs with MECC are providing what people actually need. The cornerstone of the program is depending on people who are actually living in the hardship conditions, so know exactly what kind of support they need.
Those needs continue to grow faster than the resources are available. You can support MCC’s local partners in this important work; the Government of Canada will match donations from individual Canadians to relief work in Syria made before December 31st, 2015.
Donate online to MCC’s Syria and Iraq crisis response, or call toll-free 1-888-622-6337.