Years of conflict in Syria and Iraq have created a humanitarian crisis that is affecting more than 20 million people. In Syria, 13 million need help, while in Iraq, nearly a third of the population are in need.
In both countries, Tearfund is providing life-saving aid, as well as helping people deal with the trauma of being caught in the crossfire.
We support an operational team in Iraq and four partners, while in Syria we have three partners. We are also supporting two partners in Jordan and two in Lebanon.
Since our involvement began, Tearfund has provided a wide range of material, emotional and psychosocial support. Help changes according to the seasons, as well as in response to funding.
How Tearfund has helped people
We meet basic needs by supplying:
- Monthly food packages
- Mattresses, blankets, pillows
- Hygiene and sanitary goods
- Blankets, heaters, stoves and fuel during the winter
- Kitchen kits, including wash basin, cooking pots, plates, cutlery, cups, kerosene cooker, jerry can, kerosene.
- Cash grants
- Vouchers for the purchase of food and other essentials
Giving people cash enables them to decide what essentials they need to buy. It’s means they retain the dignity of being able to make choices and it also reflects that a one-size fits all approach rarely works well. And we know from conducting research, that decisions on how the money is spent are often made jointly between husband and wife. Cash grants also enable Tearfund to be flexible and respond to people’s most current and urgent needs.
WATER AND TOILETS
Water, latrines and handwashing facilities are being provided by Tearfund for displaced people staying in temporary locations. Feminine hygiene products for women and girls are also being supplied. In communities where refugees have been permanently relocated, we are repairing small-scale water supply and sanitation systems.
Other work includes:
- supplying safe drinking water during the summer in Iraq, when temperatures can well exceed 40C
- giving families containers to store water
- promoting good hygiene awareness
With so many displaced people living in makeshift accommodation and lacking access to health services, Tearfund is looking to fill gaps. In northern Iraq, we’re funding a mobile medical clinic to treat those living in hard to reach areas. Also as a result of reported increases in miscarriages, an ultrasound machine is helping monitor pregnant women.
In Jordan, partner community health workers visit refugee women and give advice about nutrition, breastfeeding, vaccination and other topics.
Helping people who’ve been traumatised by conflict is a key part of Tearfund’s work in the Middle East, particularly among refugees in Jordan and Iraq. The aim of such psychosocial work is to help stabilise people during their displacement and get them on their way to recovery. The most vulnerable are given priority and are identified through local referrals.
We’re providing safe environments where displaced people are encouraged to process and recover from the traumas they’ve experienced. For example, over the last three years, a partner in Jordan has been providing trauma support groups for Syrian women. Each phase of their programme last six months and up to 400 women are involved at a time.
We’re supporting efforts to promote peace in Iraq and Syria several ways. This includes building understanding between faiths by training young people to be catalysts for peace through teaching them leadership and conflict resolution skills, such as how to:
- analyse and propose solutions
- repair relationships and rebuild trust
- spread a culture of peace
So far, 300 young people in Syria and 50 in Iraq have been through this.
Tearfund will be developing new projects to help refugees and internally displaced people throughout 2016.
CAN YOU HELP?
All this work relies on your support. Please help those affected by conflict in the Middle East and make a donation today.