Dear Friends of Salam,
After a long period of planning and many hours of sorting, packing and distributing, this week saw the completion of Salam LADC's largest aid distribution to date. While this campaign was being carried out our usual activities continued unabated, and plans for additional educational programs coordinated with other NGOs in the region were also put in place.
In late August three containers of aid from The Highlands Support Refugees, High Wycombe - Donations for refugees and the Unicorn Foundation arrived at Lebanese customs. Through Salam LADC’s presence in Lebanon and the close support of the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA), these containers were soon cleared and transported to critical points of distribution in Baalbak, El Marj, and Rachaya district in Beqaa Valley, Lebanon. The bulk of the distribution occurred in the first week with around 1,480 families receiving aid packages in El Marj and Rachaya. This week’s continued distribution in El Marj provided additional aid packages to 250 families (75% Syrian and 25% Lebanese), completing the distribution of the Highlands Support Refugees container. In addition, the 20ft container from Unicorn Foundation was completely distributed in the far north of the Beqaa to 270 families in Baalbek and 190 families in Hermel District. In Hermel, packages were also received by families who had travelled there from El Qaa, which was recently targeted in a spate of suicide bombings. All of this aid has reached the hands of Syrian and Palestinian refugee families, as well as highly vulnerable Lebanese families – in line with Salam LADC’s non-discriminatory humanitarian values. In total, 2,190 families benefited from this campaign. This outcome is the result of careful international coordination and logistical arrangements and the activity is unique in Lebanon to the organization of Salam LADC. Following the success of this campaign, Salam LADC is now making plans to further optimize the logistics on each end and significantly expand its capacity to carry out this work in conjunction with its network of local and international partners. Expect more updates to come. Additional food aid distributions occurred in a number of settlements thanks to contributions from our generous donors.
In the district of El Marj 220 bags aimed at meeting the nutritional needs of a family for one month were supplied by Syrian Eyes and were distributed in two settlements. Donations from Paul Reinholz and Lukas Kluka, and the Refugees Foundation, e.V. Support for Refugees on the Run, were used to purchase similar supplies, which were packaged by Salam LADC volunteers and distributed to 35 families in a settlement in Anjar and 54 families in a settlement in Taanayel. Furthermore, 7 Palestinian families assessed as being at financial risk during our House-to-House visits received food bags while other needs (i.e. medical; housing; education; etc.) were also being assessed.
Our educational work in the Embedded Community Centres (ECCs) has continued to provide Syrian children in local settlements with numeracy and literacy support. As the Lebanese school year approaches, these programs will be adjusted to fit in with the local public school curricula. This was the subject of discussion at Salam LADC this week, in a meeting with the ECC settlement managers. As a result, Salam LADC will continue to provide its support through the ECC system to Syrian children who are returning to or commencing their studies in the Lebanese public school system. Meanwhile, the program started last week aimed at providing English classes for teenage girls has continued with success, with full, lively classes gaining instruction from our English teachers, headed by La Klo.
This week also saw the commencement of our coordination with UNICEF Lebanon and other regional NGOs on the Back to School campaign in the central Beqaa region. This campaign aims to get the most vulnerable children back to school in a safe, protective environment through their enrollment and retention in the public school system. Salam LADC’s role in this campaign will be to disseminate information to individuals or families in need, and to facilitate the appropriate referral pathways for children found to be at risk.
Finally, an update on one of our medical cases. Nur is a young Palestinian/Syrian mother we met three months ago through our House-to-House visits while she was still pregnant with triplets. Salam LADC engaged with Nur to assist her through her term, however she went into labour 10 weeks pre-maturely. Sadly, one of the triplets passed away shortly after birth. The other two infants, a boy and a girl, required two months of critical inpatient treatment at Taanayel General Hospital. Through financial support provided by UNRWA (90%) and Salam LADC (10%), the infants were able to receive the treatment they required, and we are very pleased to announce that both were discharged from hospital this week, and are now safely at home with their mother Nur and her family.
The coming week is an important one in the Islamic calendar, with Eid Al-Adha approaching, and is going to be a busy one at Salam LADC. In observance of the Islamic custom, Salam LADC with the support of Muslims In Need who will be our distinguished guests here during the Eid holiday period, is preparing a large supply of freshly slaughtered meat, and is preparing hundreds of hot meals, to be provided to local families in need.
Eid mubarak habibis!
Text & Editing by Chris Feigl
Photos by Jon Yee