Mar 312011
 

Sudanese Refugees in LebanonMillions of individuals in the region face discrimination, persecution, and even violence solely because of their ethnicity, beliefs, language or social class. Their path out of poverty is especially challenging. HCI helps them to be heard and recognized so they can exchange oppression for opportunity.

In 2010, HCI built the capacity of a diverse group of underprivileged youth from an ethnically and religiously diverse suburb in Beirut, Lebanon to recognize and address the needs of internally displaced people, refugees and other marginalized members of their community.

HCI’s approach to civil society development emphasizes cross-cultural understanding and empowerment of vulnerable and under-represented members of society and pays equal attention to existing social tensions, and conflicts including but not limited to gender, religion, sect, and race. The rights of women and girls are a critical issue in this sector, and are incorporated in many of HCI’s programs.

Raising Awareness of the Plight of Migrant Women Workers in LebanonHCI also focuses on rights of people with special needs, refugees, displaced people and migrant workers. Our approach aims to build and improve societal relations based on the principles of peaceful coexistence, accountability and participation.

In 2010, HCI joined in raising the awareness of the plight of migrant women workers in Lebanon. Also, HCI continued its work in support of Iraqi refugees in the region, internally displaced people in Sudan and new settlers in Lake Nasser in Egypt.

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Dec 162009
 

Adahi 09 Understanding the culture and living conditions of the local communities we work with is part of HCI’s philosophy while serving these communities, especially at times such as Eid when great importance is placed on reviving and enjoying the traditional aspects of local culture. In addition, these traditions serve to strengthen community ties and embody important ideals such as generosity and helping the needy.

On the 10th of Dhi Al-Hijaa during the pilgrimage season, Muslims around the world celebrate Eid Al-Adha or the “Feast of Sacrifice”. As part of the celebration, an animal is sacrificed for the sake of Allah and to feed the needy and poor. It is a rewarding spiritual act for Muslims. Every year, Human Concern International (HCI) carries out the Adahi Meat Distribution Project in different underdeveloped Islamic countries to feed needy and vulnerable families.

In 2009, the project was implemented in Gaza, the West Bank, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan (with Iraqi refugees) where families of the poorest communities received meat packages directly from HCI’s team, or through the help of our local partners.

The goal of the Adahi Meat Distribution project was to enable poor and vulnerable families to cover their basic need for animal protein during this holy season. Inflation of the prices of meat usually occurs during this season, which reduces the purchasing capacity of many families, especially poor ones. Many families also cannot sacrifice their own livestock because they need their animals for the production of milk, cheese and other dairy products, and to work in the fields.

The project has three main objectives: relieving poor families who cannot afford the high price of meat during this season; forming links with local communities to address the needs of poor and vulnerable families, and complementing HCI’s overall relief and development initiatives in the region. HCI’s selection criteria directed distributions to low-income, large, and single-parent families, particularly if the single parent was a woman or person with special needs.

Adahi 09In Gaza, HCI’s team made up of tens of volunteers went door to door and personally delivered the parcels containing meat portions. They listened to and made note of each family’s problems so that this information could be used for the next needs assessment and distribution project. Hundreds of families benefited from the distributed portions. The distribution was implemented in Sheikh Rdwan in Gaza city, Ezbat Abdrabo in Jebalia, Al Zaytoon neighberhoods, and Shajaeya in Al Shatae refugee Camp.

Neighborhood committees and the local volunteers helped in the distributions. The Shahada family, one of the families benefiting from the Adahi packages told the volunteers that they literally hadn’t tasted meat in months, as did another family from Ezbit Abd Rabo, who were extremely thankful for the meat they received, without which their Eid would have been miserable.

Adahi 09In the West Bank, HCI’s team organized the distribution of hundreds of meat packages to low income families with special needs persons in the Central District of the West Bank.

Female-headed households, and families where the breadwinner is disabled, were selected as front-end beneficiaries. Local women’s groups and village councils assisted in the identification of beneficiaries. HCI’s local partner, the Vocational Training Workshops for Girls NGO in Palestine contributed additional parcels that were distributed to additional families. The slaughtering took place at the premises of the NGO, as did the distributions. Families arrived early morning of the first day of the Eid to get their Adahi. The project provided direct support to the families surrounded by the West Bank Wall or by Israeli settlements. Local newspapers reported on the distributions.

Adahi 09In Sudan, HCI along with local partners, organized and implemented this year’s Adahi Distributions in many refugee settlements in the south, north and west of the capital. The Adahi Project targeted all those who reside in these communities, focusing on single mothers and orphans. Targeted beneficiaries where identified in association with local partners. The slaughtering and distributions were done according to the Islamic traditions. Every family received one package. The project targeted the poorest families, especially widows, orphans and families with no income. HCI’s team made a point to be active in communities that contain refugees from the Darfur region and from southern Sudan.

Adahi 09 In Egypt, HCI’s team distributed meat packages to the poorest households in the marginalized new desert settlements of Kalabsha El-Jedida, Bashayer el-Kheir, New Tomas and ‘Afia village located west of Lake Nasser.

In order to guarantee a proper exposure to the HCI, banners, stickers and bags with the HCI logo where printed to be used on the day of distribution, so that people from the villages would recognize that the event was an HCI initiative. HCI’s local partner, the Center for Development Services, contributed additional parcels bearing the logos of HCI and its partners that were distributed to additional families.

Adahi 09In Jordan, in the Jabal Al Qusour district, one of the poorest areas of the capital Amman and home to thousands of Iraqi refugees, HCI’s team distributed food packages to marginalized and mostly widow headed Iraqi refugee families despite the continuing challenge of reaching needy Iraqis who are often unable to seek out official forms of aid because of economic constraints or disabilities.

Family Development Association, a women-headed grassroots organization, assisted in reaching out to Iraqis most in need based on the preset selection criteria. HCI’s long term local partner, New Development assisted in the screening and selection of final beneficiaries, as well as in the procurement of food items in close consultation with HCI’s team. HCI’s local partners contributed additional packages bearing the logos of HCI and its partners to be distributed to additional families. Local newspapers reported on the distributions. These families are live mostly on donations and humanitarian aid with no financial income whatsoever. The Adahi distribution made it possible for them to fully celebrate the holy days. One of the families which received a meat portion hadn’t included meat in their very humble meals since the last Ramadan Eid.

Adahi 09In Lebanon, hundreds of needy single mother headed families benefited from this year’s meat distributions during the Eid Al-Adha in Tripoli, Lebanon. Some of the distributions were conducted at the premises of HCI’s partner in Tripoli, the CIWS.

HCI’s team went door to door in the poorest neighborhoods of the city of Tripoli and personally delivered the meat portions to the remaining beneficiaries. HCI’s team supervised and monitored the entire process from the procurement of the supplies to the packing, as well as the organization of distributions and the selection criteria for beneficiaries in order to ensure the highest and best efficiency.Beneficiaries have commented positively on the distributions, and have sent greetings and best wishes to HCI, and to the people who made their Eid possible.

The Adahi project is designed to deliver immediate relief to the poorest families in 5 Arab countries (Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Egypt). It is important to continue implementing this seasonal project every year, as poor families can’t afford meat portions in their diet due to its high costs. The Adahi project promotes sharing and caring values especially in times of need, as well as in times of feasts. The project promotes the good will of HCI and our commitment to working and alleviating poverty in the Arab region. It enhances HCI’s relations with local partners who implement these projects, and the communities in which we work with.

The Adahi project as an immediate relief project supports other development projects that HCI is implementing in the region by exhibiting HCI commitment to poor communities need. It demonstrates the quick response and delivery of the HCI’s projects while working towards longer and sustainable outcomes through our other specialized projects.

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Oct 072009
 

Ramadan 09For the Muslim world, the month of Ramadan is traditionally a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, self control, and fasting from sunrise to sunset. It is also a particularly joyous time when relatives and friends invite each other over to gather around a table and break the fast together-Iftar-and above all a time of giving and feeling for the poor. The tradition of fasting is one that makes people all over the world feel with those who are hungry, with those who are destitute. In Ramadan, HCI takes the opportunity to honor these valued traditions while continuing to extend help to the poor and needy in the communities they serve; in the Arab world alone it is estimated that 65 million people live below the poverty line and about 11 million people suffer from malnutrition with 12.7 percent of children under the age of five being underweight. HCI is painfully aware of these statistics and has been dedicatedly engaged in battling poverty, disaster and despair here for over 20 years.

This Ramadan, like many Ramadans before, in villages, towns and cities all over The Arab world, HCI has reached out to many disadvantaged communities in the true Ramadan spirit; hundreds of traditional healthy Ramadan meals have been served to those the most in need of help and support. In addition, specially designed care packages that contain food items such as rice, dried beans, sugar and dried fruit that the families can make use of throughout Ramadan have been distributed by HCI to help ease the economic burden on these families while being as nutritionally beneficial as possible. HCI’s selection criteria direct food allocation to low-income, large, and single-parent families, particularly if the single parent is a woman or person with special needs.

Ramadan 09 GazaGAZA STRIP

In Gaza City, HCI organized an Iftar for war affected farmers and their families who have been supported by HCI to establish their own farming businesses. One hundred and fifty people came together to share the success of what HCI introduced into their lives, out of destruction these people have managed to reestablish their livelihoods, it is impressive; It has been nine months since the last Israeli Operation here and 3 years into a stifling siege, life for Gazans is characterized by chronic unemployment, infrequent access to power and water, health hazards stemming from inadequate sewage system, and sub-standard housing with thousands living in tents or the rubble of their former homes. When it was time for the distribution of food packages to the needy, the war affected people of Gaza did not have to stand in long queues this year, HCI’s team made up of tens of volunteers went door to door and personally delivered the much needed food items and listened to and made note of each family’s problems.

Ramadan 09 West BankTHE WEST BANK

Life has not improved for many of the Palestinians living in the West Bank since the construction of the separation wall that has severed communities, people’s access to services, livelihoods and religious and cultural amenities. In keeping with its commitment to help where it is needed, HCI’s presence was also felt in the West Bank this Ramadan; in the Central District of the West Bank we organized food package distributions for low income families with persons having special needs.

Ramadan 09 SudanSUDAN

In the Salama settlement, south of the capital Khartoum there are about eleven thousand internally displaced people who have fled the violence in the south and west of their country. Here they face chronic poverty, high unemployment, and many health problems. Iftars were organized for them here as well as in the north and west of Khartoum in similar settlements. The distribution of hundreds of much needed “goodwill” or “fasting” food packages as they are called in Sudan were implemented all over the capital as well.

Ramadan 09 SudanSince it is also close to the time when school fees must be paid and school supplies must be purchased, to ease the economic burden on these mostly single mother headed households, and inspired by our firm belief in education as a form of empowerment, we have also prepared back to school items to be distributed to several community schools around the capital. Our Iftars and packages may not seem enough compared to what these communities require, but they address an immediate and pressing need, hopefully with more funding in the future we will be able to do more, for now at least these settlers know that they have not been forgotten.

Ramadan 09 EgyptEGYPT

Kalabsha El-Jedida, Bashayer el-Kheir, New Tomas and ‘Afia village are new Egyptian settlements west of Lake Nasser; they were conceived as part of the government’s plan to resettle one million people around Lake Nasser by 2017 to green the desert. Several of these small agricultural communities have already sprouted up in this desolate land, but the lack of basic amenities has so far been a hindering factor in this project realizing its true potential. Yet even in the face of enduring hardship, these vulnerable and marginalized settlers from all over the country are determined to make a future for themselves and for their families. This year, HCI in collaboration with local partners made sure that 400 of the poorest households in these settlements took home a food package that would be a source nourishment and economic relief.

Ramadan 09 EgyptIn the two days of distribution, work was continuous around the clock to ensure the timely delivery of the food parcels. The New Tomas and ‘Afia village are quite far; approximately 270 km south of the nearest city, Aswan. Making this journey in the morning with the scorching heat was quite challenging for the team but after Iftar as we drank cold water and ate dates, allowing their sweetness to awaken our blood sugar and digestion, we felt inspired to see firsthand the courage and will of these settlers determinedly building a new life for themselves under difficult conditions, and we felt happy to have played a small role in their narrative which will undoubtedly prove to be a success story.

Ramadan 09 LebanonLEBANON

In Lebanon, one hundred and fifty physically handicapped individuals and their families from all over the country participated in an Iftar organized by HCI in partnership with the Lebanese Physical Handicapped Union. In the hopes of making their Iftar a memorable one, a carefully selected wheelchair friendly venue was selected for the event and a Hakawati, a traditional storyteller, was at hand to volunteer and entertain these families with inspirational tales; the human connection between the storyteller and the audience creates a sort of friendship, and thus the stories told become more believable and accepted. This makes the message or the advice hidden within the story more influential to their lives.

Ramadan 09 LebanonIn the northern city of Tripoli, one of the poorest cities on the Mediterranean coast with an alarmingly high number of single mother headed homes as a result of war and conflict, HCI organized a series of Iftars and distributions; food packets were distributed to needy families in the north and three hundred orphans and their families were invited by HCI to break their fast together over a period of three days. We are pleased to report that the normally quiet Ramadan evenings in Tripoli were filled with laughter and the sounds that children generally make when they are having fun. Furthermore, HCI organized an Iftar in the high and remote village of Jabal Akroum for the needy local families.

IRAQI REFUGEES

Ramadan 09 Iraqi RefugeesIt is estimated that Jordan hosts over 500,000 Iraqi refugees, the majority of which are without residency permits and unable to work legally, they are often fearful of seeking out official forms of aid. They largely confine themselves to their homes because of economic constraints, disabilities and concerns about their legal status. Access to educational and health services remain limited. Every day is a struggle to hold their families together with very little means. And even though their future is uncertain and their current situation is grim, going back home is out of the question; home is where they saw the destruction of their communities and the constant threat of violence, torture and extortion. Growing numbers are living at or below the poverty line. The resources of many families have dwindled to almost nothing and this creates concern about the simplest things, like how they will feed their children each night.

This year, HCI’s team in Amman distributed hundreds of food packages to mostly widow headed Iraqi families. Not only did these families receive temporary relief to their economic burden but their dignity remained intact, and they felt cared for.

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Jun 102009
 

Iraqi refugeesJordan hosts around 500,000 Iraqi refugees among which about two thirds are children and youth below the age of twenty four. A large number of them are known to be physically, psychologically, and/or economically vulnerable. In the poor neighborhoods of Amman deprivation and the limited availability of resources create tensions between low income Jordanians and poverty stricken Iraqi refugees. This dynamic often leads to the stigmatization of these refugees and makes their struggle to survive even harder. Children are especially vulnerable to the negative mental health outcomes and general social disadvantage that may result from this. HCI believes that young people’s voices, perspectives and participation are all necessary and critical resources that are able play a key role in shaping their communities’ future, so since 2007 together with our longtime local partner, New Development, we have been working to bolster social cohesion and empower these vulnerable communities to unleash their potentials in order for them to establish themselves and help their families and their overall communities, while securing much needed necessities through relief aid.

Iraqi refugeesA group of underprivileged Iraqi and Jordanian children have been meeting after school to rehearse for a play called “The Happiness Forest”; this play is one of the many projects HCI’s multifaceted Aid for Change program plans to implement. The play serves as a safe and effective space for the children to learn lessons on peaceful coexistence, pluralism, gender equality, tolerance and non-violence. Research has shown that having groups of children cooperating and working together towards a common goal is one of the best ways to break down negative stereotypes and stigmas, and build a sense of community. This is very evident in our group; during rehearsals we witness these children from different backgrounds interact with each other like one big happy family. Although they are still young, with their efforts they are already changing the way that their society functions; they represent a new generation of Jordanians and Iraqis, coexisting and supporting each other in a community where everyone is in dire need of help. This is the essence of what Aid for Change aims to accomplish. “The Happiness Forest” will debut on the 15th of June on the prestigious Royal Cultural Center in Amman.

Iraqi refugees“Aid for Change” is unique because it is specifically designed to help impoverished refugees and their neighbors while taking into consideration the reality of their situation; when every day is about finding enough food, water and other basic necessities to survive: widows cannot afford to send their children to school and pay for their learning materials, when they can barely manage to survive on occasional in-kind assistance from their neighbors; farmers cannot afford to risk trying new agricultural methods, when they can barely manage to survive on a small patch of land; the unemployed never have a chance to learn new skills if they spend all day making a living on the black market; and, poverty-stricken communities are too busy looking for food to rebuild infrastructure vital for redevelopment. This consideration is key to the philosophy of Aid for change; we cannot expect a person that survives day to day to give up his daily work to attend a workshop; imagine a group of mothers and widows learning about first aid and hygiene, unsure about how to secure food for the day, yet determined to lift their families out of misery and offer them a decent life by gathering much needed life skills. This is not the case with the workshops conducted by HCI; these women do not need to worry about basic necessities since they are provided with essential supplies individually selected for each family based on their actual need.

Iraqi refugeesSince the first phase of the program was launched in February, 300 vulnerable families have received basic aid supplies, such as food items, first aid kits and basic hygiene kits that they would normally be unable to afford yet are in need of. In addition workshops that address several issues such as first aid, food safety and child care have also been offered to 150 women. “The information from the classes was as helpful as the items they later gave us; I discovered a lot that I wasn’t aware of; things like the vaccinations my children needed and the proper way to prepare and to store food” Marwa a young Iraqi mother of two tells us during a coffee break at one of the food safety workshops. “I am glad I came, I think it is a good idea to offer aid items after the classes; I was a bit reluctant to come to the workshop at first, I have to work… but I was motivated when I heard that food and supplies would be offered afterwards, as you know, we need all the help we can get”.

Iraqi refugeesIn the next phase of the program 50 widows will be assisted to develop viable home-based businesses. They will be compensated with basic necessities to devote time and energy to develop such businesses, 100 Iraqi children will be given much needed educational materials and 50 people with special needs will be taught new skills in a series of workshops to put them on their way towards developing viable micro businesses that will help them build sustainable futures for themselves.

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Mar 122009
 

Iraqi Refugees in NeedHCI team in Jordan was busy last month in Jordan launching its new initiative for Iraqi refugees living in Jordan: the Aid for Change initiative, aiding vulnerable people with the aim to change their lives through self-help and self-directedness. This new initiative will be implemented in partnership with the Jordan-based New Development Organization. It will build on HCI’s previous initiatives supporting Iraqi refugees in Zarqa, Jordan since the year 2007.

For poor Iraqi refugees, every day is about finding enough food, water and other basic necessities to survive: widows cannot afford to send their children to school and pay for their learning materials, when they can barely manage to survive on occasional in-kind assistance from their neighbors; the unemployed never have a chance to learn new skills if they spend all day making a living on the black market; and, poverty-stricken communities are too busy looking for food to rebuild infrastructure vital for redevelopment.

And to top all this, these poor refugees have to cope with all their feelings of grief, depression, disquiet sleep, and loss of appetite; which are normal human reactions to an abnormal incident and not the other way round. What they are going through is not a weakness in their characters or lack of faith, but they are alone and isolated in their suffering. The psychological demoralization has also shaken all the values and hopes that they carried.

Zarqa CityHCI’s program will help low-income and needy Iraqi mothers, Iraqi with special needs to secure basic necessities for themselves and their families, such as food and non-food items. At the same time, this program will help them secure an income by themselves, so they can break out of the poverty trap and build sustainable future for the entire family either in Jordan or in their home country, Iraq.

HCI’s program will pay participants with basic necessities to build (or rebuild) their lives. Basic aid supplies, such as food and non-food items, given to the right people, at the right time, make it possible for them to devote time and energy to development opportunities. HCI’s assistance is to give Iraqi refugees the chance to take the first steps out of the poverty trap, thus to establish a life for themselves and their families.

The philosophy of this project is to unleash the potentials of vulnerable Iraqi refugees to establish themselves and help their families and their overall communities, while securing much needed necessities through relief aid. When these potentials are unleashed and made use of, these refugees will feel that they are able of bread wining, keeping a shelter, and belonging to an extended social group. All these satisfy the natural human hierarchy of needs, thus putting the mental/psychological state back on track.

Through this project, widows will be assisted to develop viable home-based businesses. They will be compensated with basic necessities to devote time and energy to develop such businesses. People with special needs will learn new skills and develop viable micro businesses that will help them build sustainable future. Women will be trained on practical topics such as parental and child health. Children will be assisted to stage a play addressing issues such social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. Children will organize a carnival and will be given educational materials and taught about issues concerning pluralism, gender equality, tolerance and non-violence.

This is what we termed as aid for change, aiding vulnerable people with the aim to change their lives through self-help and self-directedness.

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Dec 172008
 

The second and the third day of Eid Al-Adha dawned windy–one of the most important events in the Muslim calendar both religiously and socially — rainy and cold, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of HCI team in Middle East, assisted by volunteers and local partners, determined to see that the poorest of the poor had a decent feast day observance. It is a celebratory time when fresh Adahi meat is enjoyed.

Upholding a long-held tradition, thousands of families in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan — widows, orphans, unemployed, those with special needs — received meat packages along with a “Happy Eid” card and the good wishes of HCI supporting integrated development and relief programs in the communities where distributions were implemented. Recipient families were identified with assistance from village councils and local partners.

“This reinforces our emphasis on development versus relief,” stated Rabih Yazbeck, HCI ME Regional Director. “It allows us to share in local celebrations and support local residents on such important occasions,” he continued, “taking us beyond simple food distribution to underscore the entire development process in which we are engaged.”

HCI selection criteria directed meat allocation to low-income, large, and single-parent families, particularly if the single parent were a woman or person with special needs.

And since a picture says more than a thousand words, here is a selection of photos from HCI’s Adahi Program for this year:

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Nov 032008
 

There are five people sitting in the same dirt-yard. The first is an old man; he is a vegetable peddler. He is aged, and the limbs of his body seem to rage against each other. There is no coordination in his movements, he is ragged, one of his eyes has been put out and the threat on his second eye is looming. He is war.

The second is a young girl in borrowed clothing; her own garments have been taken away from her. She is a prisoner, and every day she reaches her tiny hands through the bars hoping for a morsel, yet the world turns a blind eye. She is occupation.

The third is a dark-skinned young man with smoldering eyes. He is in a wheelchair; his legs have been mutilated beyond any resemblance of normal limbs. He is catastrophe.

The fourth is an infant boy whose face has lost its baby roundness. Hunger has eaten away at his limbs, and this is because he is an orphan. He has no mother to feed him. He is poverty.

The fifth is a young lady of exceptional beauty who has been torn and ravaged by the times. She can only run with those behind her gaining fast. She has nowhere to go. She is illness.

The month of Ramadan is a month of family, generosity, tradition. The tradition of fasting is one that makes people all over the world feel with those who are hungry, with those who are destitute. It is a time when hands are stretched out to those in need with love and care. And in this month in general is all the generosity of the world contained in the hearts of those who care. Human Concern International is one of those who care. They have done, this past Ramadan, work that will last in the hearts of the destitute forever. For the time being, at least, war, occupation, catastrophe, poverty and illness are vanquished.

Lebanon is the old man War. Civil strife, especially around Tripoli lately in the north, is rampant. Civilians struggle to meet their needs and educate their children. It is like the scarred, hopeless old man who is peddling his vegetables to no one who can afford to buy them. They turn stagnant, much like his hopes. In order to help this old man, HCI held two iftars in which delicious and nutritious food was available to the orphans of Tripoli and their families. They also distributed food packets to the needy in the north, in the south and in the east of the country, putting a smile on the old man’s face for the first time in a long time.

Palestine is the young girl occupation. The families of martyred men lose their source of income and are in dire need of assistance. The Israeli siege and checkpoints make sure that little help is got to them. They are losing hope of survival. And yet, through terrible conditions in which food packets were investigated scrupulously and spoiled, thrown on the ground and left to rot, the determination of the HCI crew managed to distribute hundreds packages to hundreds needy families. Thus the HCI managed to find–not only bread and water– but also cake and tea to the imprisoned young girl with the hands stretched out.

Sudan is the young man catastrophe. The countrymen of Sudan have to live where every institution is a catastrophe: educational, economical, environmental, political, constitutional, infrastructure, health, civilisation, development and so on. And the squalid way in which the population is spread out duplicates the suffering of the Sudanese people. The HCI made their way through desolate lands, unpaved roads, dry landscapes and hazy horizons in order to get help to the Sudanese people. They managed to held two iftars and distribute hundreds food packages to needy Sudanese families at four poverty-stricken communities.

Egypt is the baby boy poverty. The village communities are vulnerable and marginalized, lacking proper heath and medical care services. The HCI helped the poor civilians of village communities by distributing five hundred Ramadan food parcels with rice, pasta, broad beans, vegetable ghee, sugar, tea and dried apricots. This definitely helped an infant smile to grow on the baby boy’s face.

Iraq is the young lady illness. More specifically, she is an Iraqi refugee. Iraqi refugees tend to stuff into cramped ragged apartments, most often an entire family in a single room. There’s little furniture and inadequate heat. Living in such congested quarters can increase the spread of illnesses, but most can’t afford or access health services. The HCI helped many needy and destitute families by distributing food packages this Ramadan.

One by one, these five people sitting in the dirt-yard have come into contact with kindness, warmth, and humanity in the form of the HCI, and each has learned just how grateful one can be to an extended helping hand. The HCI hopes that during Laylatul Qadr their fates for the next year will be kinder, and our fates on this side of the line will help us help them even more. And the HCI says, Ramadan Kareem, kareem indeed.

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Sep 242008
 

“It is like a celebration of being accepted, being taken care of and being supported,” commented one of the Iraqi refugees in Zarqa, Jordan, who was receiving medical equipments provided by HCI. She is one of many Iraqis benefited from HCI long-time project helping Iraqi refugees, particularly those with special needs, with relief supplies, medical equipments and supplies and nutrition support.

Here in Jordan, the villas and fine cars of well off Iraqis in suburban west Amman belie the circumstances of less advantaged Iraqi “guests,” who settled into congested, relatively anonymous urban neighborhoods alongside low-income Jordanians. Without residency permits and unable to work legally, Iraqis are often fearful of seeking out official forms of assistance. They largely confine themselves to their homes because of economic constraints, disabilities and concerns about their legal status. Access to educational and health services remain limited. Their situation becomes ever more precarious, as meager resources dwindle and their future remains uncertain. They are struggling to hold their families together with very little means. They don’t know what is going to happen to them. Their current situation is grim, but they say there is no way they can go home. Home is where they saw the killing and kidnapping of loved ones, the destruction of their communities and the constant threat of violence, torture and extortion. Growing numbers are living at or below the poverty line. The resources of many families have dwindled to almost nothing and this creates concern about the simplest things, like how they will feed their children each night.

It is estimated that Jordan is hosting more than 500,000 Iraqi refugees, while the city of Zarqa is hosting large number of them; high number of them are known to be physically, psychologically and/or economically vulnerable. About two thirds of Iraqi refugees in Jordan are children and youth below the age of 24.

The project intends to serve 1000 vulnerable Iraqi refugees in the first year, including 200 refugees with mental or physical impairment and 200 children and youth below the age of 24. In its first phase, the project is working to enhance the standard of living of vulnerable Iraqi refugees, particularly persons with mental and physical impairment, female-headed households, elderly and children. The project is also working to build the capacity of local CBOs and social workers to provide at-home individualized support and individualized relief aid for vulnerable Iraqi refugees, particularly persons with mental and physical impairment.

During the holy month of Ramadan, HCI provided individualized relief aid for vulnerable Iraqis refugees with disability which include:

  • Essential medical equipments for people with disability,
  • Basic home maintenance/appliances that contribute to accessibility and mobility as well as capacity for independent living, and
  • Food and nutritional aid.

This was preceded by capacity building activities for local CBOs and local social workers to provide at-home individualized support and individualized relief aid for people with disability using combination of theoretical training and field application. 10 women social workers developed systems and gained skills to provide at-home needs assessment and profiling. Over one week, social workers visited every beneficiary and assessed their needs on the ground.

Items distributed include: wheelchairs, crutches, bath seats, elevated chairs, toilet aid accessories, ramps, hearing aid accessories, medical mattresses, and other essential medical and accessibility supplies for people with disability.

HCI has been working with local partners, particularly HCI local partner New Development (NDEV), to assist Iraqi refugees in Jordan since 2005. HCI has extensive experience assisting refugees and displaces persons and promoting social cohesion in the region.

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