Dear Friends of Salam
Clothes – as far as the eye can reach!! Our warehouse got fully packed last week from floor to roof with clothes, shoes and other non-food items. We received a 20 foot container from Norway with useful non-food items for Salam LADC’s winter campaign. One might underestimate the man force and working hours needed to prepare such a huge container for further distribution! That said, lots of our volunteers spent many hours in the warehouse resorting and repacking all the items to get them ready for the distributions.
With some content of the Norwegian container we decided to perform a precise emergency distribution in Karaon: To do so a few volunteers went Wednesday morning to a remote settlement where 9 families live under very rudimental conditions. The volunteers assessed the needs of the families who had no aid received in recent times. Based on that assessment we were able to provide to the families the same day full clothing packs, shoes and blankets to prepare them for the winter. We are also looking at helping to place gravel on the dirt road as they state that it becomes inaccessible during the winter time. This will ensure that aid can be given with easier access during the winter time.
Besides the clothes distribution we performed two other distributions in Zahle last week: 27 families got a chance to try on and find proper fitting winter shoes (89 pairs). And we distributed dried food bags to 62 families, paid by Benny Schwarz donation.
The school bus project cleared the next hurdle: We took out the school bus for our first trial run to determine the logistics of it all and give the volunteers a taste of how the bus project would be executed.
Beside the mentioned activities we ran our usual activities: within the House-2-House project we were able to visit 8 Palestinian Syrian refugee families focusing on assessing their specific winterization needs. Each of the families got a food bag with basic ingredients that covers approximately one month of supplies and two blankets as temperatures are slowly dropping in Bekaa Valley. Furthermore, ECC English classes ran as usual, so did the bi-weekly Binet Shabab English with Syrian teen girls in El Marj. The cinema night is still going on – the kids of two different settlements enjoyed watching a movie and two play with purpose events were executed in Syrian refugee settlements.
As winter is approaching fast in the Bekaa, who is located 800 to 1200 meters above sealevel, we are pushing hard to prepare. Multiple meetings with UNHCR, MOSA and different NGOs have now given us an idea of the needs on ground. We are looking to coordinate with all relevant actors on this to avoid duplication and be as effective as possible. As of now we have managed to get 10 winterized containers and 1, maybe 2 containers of insulation in the pipeline. A winter-campaign is also being launched to allow us to target winter needs that cannot be covered by container aid.
Text by Petra Küng
Photos by Jon Yee, Sonya Kordonets and David Palmer