For Alea’s family in northern Syria, their cotton farm provided for all their needs. ‘We were in heaven in Syria,’ she says. She stayed as long as she could after the bombing began in 2011. The family would hide in the space between the wall and the fridge when they heard planes overhead. Alea was pregnant and frightened, but when her children began begging her for bread she knew it was time to run.
The United Nations recently reported that more than 6.7 million people have been forced to leave Syria since 2011. The vast majority have fled to neighbouring countries like Lebanon, which itself has been struggling beneath the weight of coronavirus, an economic crisis and political unrest – problems all made worse by the tragic explosion in Beirut in August.
Alea’s makeshift home in a slum area of Beirut is cramped and dilapidated - and the coronavirus pandemic make them even more vulnerable. Thankfully her home escaped the impact of the recent explosion as it was five miles away. Thankfully her family has a lifeline in the form of Tearfund Ireland’s local partner.
Tearfund Ireland’s partner, the Tahaddi Centre, sits right at the heart of the makeshift settlement where Alea lives. Despite the outbreak of coronavirus in Lebanon, the amazing staff continue to work every day, and at least three times a week on site. Staff are conducting visits into the community, where they share hygiene information and distribute hygiene kits containing personal protective equipment like masks and gloves. The staff are also providing vouchers to enable families to buy urgently needed food as many refugees are day labourers and have lost income as a result of coronavirus.
Through their longer-term programme, the Tahaddi Centre are still helping vulnerable children like Alea’s receive support to help them process their traumatic experiences, as the health centre remains open.
The centre’s sewing programme is also still running, and has recently been making medical scrubs for health and social workers. This programme taught Alea tailoring skills that enable her to earn an income to provide for her family.
Be a neighbour to those in greatest need.
I want to invite you to support work like this all over the world. To be a neighbour and, if you are able, to be generous. Partners like the Tahaddi Centre offer refugee families a warm welcome, loving fellowship and a new sense of belonging.
‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’
Please pray for people like Alea – that God would comfort them when despair feels overwhelming. And pray for peace across the Middle East, and especially in Lebanon.
You can give HERE today.