March will be seven years since the start of the conflict in Syria. Today the vast majority of Syrian refugees in Lebanon find themselves impoverished and living with higher levels of despair than ever.
On December 27, 2017, the UNHCR released their 2017 survey. It found that overall, Syrian refugees are worse off today than they were when they arrived in Lebanon years ago. They have depleted the resources they brought with them. Add in the restricted livelihood opportunities due to lack of access to employment and legal residency. All this makes it difficult for refugees to meet their family’s basic needs. Too many Syrian refugee families are forced to resort to negative coping practices that often leads to early marriage, child labor, and enslavement. Syrian refugees, including unaccompanied and separated children (orphans), who lack legal documentation are also in constant fear of being exposed and therefore, are vulnerable to exploitation. The overall situation is exacerbated by weak economic growth in Lebanon because of overstretched resources and services that are struggling to meet the additional needs. We know you agree as well that this situation is unacceptable – we can and must do better, together.
One statistic, that will upset you as much as it does us, is that food insecurity affects more than 9 out of 10 Syrian refugee families. That fact alone gives our ministry a solid place to start.
What we know is that humanitarian aid by itself is never enough! It must be done unconditionally and combined with conversations based on the compassionate heart of Jesus Christ (drawing people into a conversation rather than pushing them into a decision). If we do not do our best to serve basic needs, what right do we have to talk about the spiritual needs? We might not increase the numbers of Syrian refugees involved in our humanitarian aid response to record heights this year, but in 2018, we will be more strategic with serving people living in despair – showing them and bringing them hope, the Hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our 2018 Humanitarian Aid & Educational strategy:
Our humanitarian aid response in 2018 will be combined with efforts to build long-term resilience in the refugees we serve. It’s not the number of refugees we serve that counts, it’s how many can we have a conversations with. Our prayer, desire, and focus is on making sure each person is healthy and emotionally stable so they can make the best decisions possible about their situation, and be ready for the future. Someday, when the war in Syria ends and the refugees no longer wear this title, it’s our aspiration to send them back as peace builders that are healthy, strong, equipped, and passionate to develop Syria into a nation for good. The people we are serving today will be the mission-force leaders of tomorrow. We must continue to provide unconditional compassionate humanitarian aid to each family. Not building dependency but rather trust and strength.
Everything we do has two foundational pillars. A) Everything we do is done unconditionally; B) We work from context to content, never the other way around.
In 2018 we are more dedicated to these pillars than ever. (See our CEO’s article on Context to Content)
No “Lost Generation” is our heart’s prayer each day for the refugee children! This year we have enhanced our Educational Program by adding leadership habits to what the students are learning. In 2018 we are adding new programs under our Hope on Wheels ministry that will help children right where they live to have fun, learn from Bible stories, sing songs, and develop as children should.
In 2018 we will continue to model, teach, and continually improve on reconciliation, leadership, and peace-building training, Character Traits, Bible Studies and Worship Gatherings as we continue to make disciples.
Your prayer and consistent financial investments allow us to build life long relationships.
Thank you so much!