Church support warms refugees in northeast Syria

Displaced people in northeast Syria receive winter clothing and essential items from CARE and the Church of Jesus Christ

Displaced people living in camps in northeast Syria have new hope as they face the winter months.

These individuals and families are trapped in a cycle of poverty, increased vulnerability and repeated displacement. But CARE, which stands for Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are helping.

Fatma — whose name was changed in this article for her privacy — arrived in the Serekaniye camp with her husband and six children more than three years ago after fleeing their home in Syria due to war.

“Life in the camp is difficult for us. We wake up every day worrying where to get food and water. Our tent is really old and dilapidated. Every winter, we are faced with far more challenges,” Fatma said.

Her husband does not have a stable job, and three of their children have disabilities. The family mainly relies on aid from humanitarian organizations to survive.

Through CARE and the Church’s support, Fatma and her family received warm winter clothing and kits including essential items such as soap, shampoo, detergent, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

More than 39,000 individuals also received winter clothing and hygiene kits along with Fatma.

“There are many times that I am losing hope because of my family’s living condition,” Fatma said, “but the kindness and support that we receive motivate me especially for the sake of my children.”

Other efforts in Syria

Last year, the Church News reported how Church funding helped CARE improve conditions in Syrian camps.

Syria and nearby countries such as Lebanon and Turkey face an astronomical problem with refugees and people who have been displaced. CARE and the Church have worked together to support people in displaced camps or in displaced communities.

Dana Tseng, senior director of development for CARE USA, said emergency assistance continues to be a large focus of the organization, which pairs well with the Church’s humanitarian, welfare and self-reliance efforts.  

“We’ve been really well matched as organizations who care about the dignity of people and addressing the most urgent needs around the world and making sure we give people an opportunity to thrive and live successful lives,” Tseng said. 

Meanwhile, efforts between the Church and ShelterBox have helped give Syrian refugees materials for shelter as they flee violence or poverty.

“We wouldn’t be in Syria right now if the Church wasn’t supporting this work,” said Serena Kelsch, ShelterBox’s humanitarian director of strategic partnerships. 

And in just a few months after February’s earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, aid from the Church had topped $13.5 million through multiple relief projects.

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