By Soraya Naufal, Caritas Lebanon – Information and Communication Department The number of Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in March 2011 has officially reached the alarming figure of one million individuals (mostly women and children). This, in a country of approximately four million inhabitants, already shaken by numerous conflicts over the past five decades, could lead to a disastrous humanitarian situation. In order to reduce and prevent, from the start, social and humanitarian complications, Caritas Lebanon was among the first NGOs to rapidly deploy in the Bekaa valley and in the border regions, thus relieving both Christian and Muslim Syrian refugees and providing them with basic humanitarian needs: clothes, food, blankets… Its intervention is set up in collaboration with the UNHCR and the UNICEF, and according to the SPHERE standards. Medical assistance targets mainly women and children in Caritas Lebanon’s Health […]
By Caritas staff These last three days have been particularly difficult and deadly in Aleppo. Caritas works in the Jabal Es Saydeh quarter with families who have been forced from their homes. But it is now empty of all its residents, driven from their homes by heavy fighting. The local sheikh was murdered. He had opposed the armed groups. He was beheaded and his severed head displayed for passersby to see. Homes have been occupied by fighters and used as advanced firing positions. Bullets and bombs rain down ceaselessly on Jabal Es Saydeh and adjacent neighbourhoods. Snipers dominate the city. They’ve moved into areas previously thought safe before. Christian parts of the city which were thought safe have become the front line. Families have had to flee from place to place looking for safety. Aleppo has witnessed a major wave of people, both Christian and Muslim, leaving because they no […]
By Caritas Lebanon Migrants Centre
The parents of 8-month old Amjad Aalawayn came to the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre in Zahle in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon on Wednesday 3 April looking for help for their sick baby. The family were Syrian refugees, fleeing the fighting in their country. The baby was pale, listless and had no appetite.
They came to Caritas after one hospital had refused to admit Amjad because of money issues. A Caritas social worker contacted a paediatrician to transfer him to a hospital, but sadly he passed away while waiting for medical assistance.
Our social worker contacted the hospital where he was transferred, whereby they confirmed the death of 8-month old Amjad. No cause of death was declared as was dead on arrival. May this angel’s soul rest in peace, a peace he certainly didn’t find in here.
Many sick children have been referred to Caritas from the same […]
By Jos de Vogd, CORDAID (Caritas Netherlands)
After two years of fighting in Syria, the flow of refugees into neighbouring Lebanon is increasing the pressure on this small country by the day. According to recent government figures, more than a million Syrians are now in Lebanon. And every week more than 10,000 more displaced people, all looking for accommodation, are adding to the problem because there are no official refugee camps there.
The numbers include refugees registered or waiting to be registered with the UN refuge agency UNHCR. But they also include people who are either not willing to register as well as seasonal workers who didn’t return to Syria because of the civil war, instead persuading their families to join them in Lebanon. Also included are Palestinian refugees from Syria and Lebanon who were permanently living in Syria. At the moment, one in five people in Lebanon come from Syria.
More than a million Syrian refugees have fled the conflict in their country. Half of them have gone to Jordan, where they mostly live side by side with Jordanians in towns and cities. They arrive with nothing, often suffering from trauma and health problems.
Caritas members around the world are supporting Caritas Jordan to provide them with humanitarian aid like blankets, heaters, fuel, food and hygiene kits, as well as medical care, housing support, informal education and counselling for trauma. So far Caritas Jordan has registered 75,000 individuals for its assistance.
Caritas is marking International Women’s Day on 8 March by celebrating the work of women farmers around the world.
Women are more than ever at the forefront of sustaining family farms, but yet find themselves denied the same resources as men. This leads to hunger and traps women in a cycle of poverty. When it comes to farms, Caritas wants a level playing field between men and women.
Four out of every ten farmers in poor countries are women. They provide food for their families and support the local economy. But when it comes to having a fair share of land, animals, seeds, fertilisers, equipment and credit, women are discriminated against. Yields are lower as a result and everyone suffers.
Land is a key asset, yet there are big disparities in legal ownership or rental of land between men and women. In parts of Africa and Asia, women represent fewer than five […]
By Martin de Jong, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand
Lisa Vehikite is the leader of a tapa-making (cloth-making) group that is finding new life through a Caritas programme in Tonga. Lisa’s group is one of 43 micro-enterprises benefiting from small loans provided through Caritas Tonga in partnership with Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand. The scheme has been made possible by the New Zealand Aid programme and our New Zealand donors.
Lisa’s husband works in Australia picking fruit for seven months each year. She has five children at home in Utulau Village on the main island of Tongatapu. Income she earns through the tapa making group helps pay her children’s school fees. She heard about the scheme at a community meeting where Caritas Tonga’s Amelia Ma’afu spoke. ‘This project makes me feel like I am a real mother … someone else is helping us to do our work at home,’ says Lisa. Her dream […]
By Maria Suelzu, International Advocacy Officer, Migration Team, Caritas Internationalis On 15 February I attended an event organised by Vatican Radio. It was a reading of some excerpts from the books written by women migrants who had taken part in the literary competition “Lingua Madre” (Mother Tongue) in Italy. I was moved by the stories of these migrant women and by the quality of their writing. My role was that of presenting the activities of the Caritas Confederation for women migrants. Below you will find the text of my speech.
Nawal, 27, was a little confused when people showed up at her thatched hut one day, asking about her baby daughter. “They measured her arm to see how thick it was,” she remembers.
One thing wasn’t confusing: the family was hungry. “At home we don’t have any food,” she says simply. Though her husband earns some money as a daily labourer, there isn’t enough for the four children. “One of our little sons was in school, but he had to drop out. Our situation is bad.”
Nawal’s situation has been bad for almost a decade, ever since the day her home village in Darfur was attacked. Shot in the leg and hiding under a tree, “I thought I would die,” she remembers. Her mother did die that day.
With thousands of others, Nawal escaped to one of Sudan’s camps for displaced people. They were safer there, but could no longer earn a […]
By Patrick Nicholson
Tahani and Rahaf are both Syrian refugees who volunteer for Caritas Jordan to help their compatriots.
“We had a normal life,” said Rahaf Al Jaber, a 20 year old woman from the Syrian capital Damascus. “We went to university. We had friends. We were even a little spoiled by our parents. And then suddenly we had nothing. We were cold, hungry and alone.”
Rahaf fled with her family to Jordan after her father was threatened. “My father received a phone call saying he should leave or he will be killed. We left the house straight away, without time to pack. We learned that our house was burned down later. We fled along back roads and through fields to avoid checkpoints. We walked across the border.”
They went to Zaatri refugee camp once they were in Jordan. “It’s in a desert. Life is very difficult,” she said. “We slept in tents […]
By Patrick Nicholson
“Each Syrian you meet will tell you a different story; but they are all the same tragedy,” said Fawaz, a refugee who crossed into Jordan last month.
Since the conflict began two years ago in Syria, its cities have been devastated, its people go hungry, living in fear, 70,000 are dead and around 3 million have been forced from their homes.
Half of the Syrian refugees who have fled their country are in Jordan. Most live in urban areas in rented rooms. Caritas Jordan provides them with humanitarian aid, housing support, healthcare, education and counseling.
Here are five of their stories.
Fawaz cradles his 20-day old baby girl in his arms as they wait at the Caritas clinic in Amman. The baby has a high fever and has been born with a hip problem. Thankfully her twin brother is healthy and happy. The twins were born just days after Fawaz […]
The landscape is desolate. Not a tree or a bush provides adequate shelter or shade. The wind is howling, children’s faces are streaked with dark lines of tears as the windswept sand hurts their eyes.
Halima is a young women who lives in the refugee camp of Ayorou Niger. She her left her hometown of Tabakota in Mali three month ago with 20 members of her family. “I have a small child you see, so when armed men started shooting, I got scared and left town, actually the whole family did,” she said.
Halima is grateful her family were given millet and vegetable oil. She is particularly happy about the 40kg charcoal bag she stands by. “I will be able to cook for the whole family for about three weeks with this,” she said.
CADEV, Caritas Niger is working in four camps helping 18,000 Malian refugees. They fled there after rebels seized […]