Welcoming displaced children in His nameDecember 4, 2019
Quarterly highlights – Q4 2019December 18, 2019
A few weeks in the Advent season, most of us have started decorating our house and putting up our Christmas tree. Listening to our favorite Christmas songs playlist, we might already be “dreaming of a white Christmas”. But for refugees and displaced people, who do not own winter clothes or blankets and cannot afford to heat their makeshift tent or poorly insulated dwelling, snow means cold and extra hardship. Instead of a white Christmas, they are praying for a warm Christmas, “just like the ones they used to know” before conflict dragged them away from the comfort of their homes and communities. Today, you can grant them their wish by helping us provide them with much needed winter blankets and mattresses, stoves and heaters, and fuel vouchers.
An uncertain winter ahead
In 2019, 73% of refugee households in Lebanon were still living below the poverty line and nearly 93% were in debt. With food insecurity affecting 92% of refugee households in Lebanon and 6.6 million people in Syria, many people still need help to feed their children. The current political and economic crisis in Lebanon has made things worse, with the devaluation of both the Lebanese and the Syrian pounds (by almost 50% on the informal market in Lebanon and by more than 100% in Syria). The situation is drastically decreasing the families’ purchasing power, while more and more people are losing their jobs and unemployment reaches new heights.
During the winter months, humanitarian needs increase as average temperatures drop down to -5o C at high altitudes. Since Lebanon does not allow formal UN refugee camps for Syrians, most families live inside weak shelters made of wood or plastic sheeting in informal tented settlements or other poorly insulated dwellings, both of which fail to provide enough protection during the winter.
Both Syrian refugee and vulnerable Lebanese families, who already struggle to cover rent, food, and medical expenses, cannot afford to purchase the critically needed winterization items for staying warm, especially since seasonal jobs in agriculture or construction are typically unavailable.
The impact you can make
In this very uncertain environment, the impact you can make is huge. You can help our partners distribute winter items to the most vulnerable among the people they serve. In total, we are hoping to reach about 4,000 vulnerable families with around 6,000 blankets, 3,000 mattresses, 150 heating stoves, and 5,000 fuel vouchers. We already purchased more than half of the blankets from the sewing group run by one of our local partners, hence generating an income for vulnerable women in the group to better provide for their family. We are praying we can receive sufficient funding to order an additional 1,500 blankets from them.
The warmth our partners provide through those items is never just physical. Naji, a member of one of our partner churches’ relief team in the Bekaa valley, still gets emotional when he recalls a particular story from last winter:
“We were distributing stoves inside the camp as it was freezing cold and heavily snowing, and one of the families who had registered to receive a stove had managed to get one on their own. When we arrive to another family’s tent, we discover that the mother is pregnant with her third child and that the family has nothing more than a small electric heater. The little one is due the very next day, and the mother is worried she will not be able to keep her newborn warm. On the spot, we decided to give them the stove and installed it. She could not believe how God had provided this stove at the perfect time. She was overjoyed. A year later, she still thanks me for this stove every time she sees me!”
For them, it was more than just staying warm: it was God answering their prayer, God reminding them that despite their circumstances, He was there with them and would provide for them. For us, it was seeing God at work. We see a lot of similar stories but each time, it amazes me and gives me the strength I need to continue this work.
For a smooth winter with no storms or flooding
For God to provide the resources to help many vulnerable families around them keep warm this winter
For a quick and peaceful resolution to the current political and economic crisis in Lebanon
For strength and God’s guidance for all vulnerable people, including the Lebanese, refugees, and migrant workers, who are all negatively impacted by the crisis
For wisdom and renewed motivation for our team and partners, as we seek to discern how God wants to use us in this new and challenging context.
 Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon (VASyR) 2019
 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan Mid-Year Report.