CLWR – Canadian Lutherans Respond to Syrian Refugee Crisis with Sponsorship and Aid
As the conflict enters into fifth year people growing increasingly desperate, need for assistance heightens.
A heartbreaking photo of a little boy, Aylan Kurdi, who drowned when the boat he was on capsized off the coast of Turkey. Thousands of people desperately trying to find refuge in Europe. For many, these stories have been a renewed call-to-action to help Syrians fleeing violence and bloodshed in their country.
As that conflict escalates, Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) and its partners are continuing to respond to the suffering.
CLWR has been supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan since 2012 with support from the Canadian government, the Government of Saskatchewan, partner agencies including Canadian Foodgrains Bank and The Lutheran World Federation, and Lutherans from across the country.
Its response to date has grown to more than $9 million in programming.
Emergency food vouchers were distributed over two six month periods to almost 3,500 households having difficulty meeting their family’s food needs.
Over 6,000 households have received non-food relief items including heaters, gas refills, clothing, sheets, mattress covers and hygiene kits. Over 700 dilapidated shelters were rehabilitated for warmth, safety, and water and sanitation.
This programming supported Syrian refugees and impoverished Jordanian families struggling with rising costs due to the increased demand for housing, food and other resources.
CLWR has also shipped $300,000 worth of aid donated by Canadians to people in the Za’atari refugee camp and refugees living in urban areas in northern Jordan. The shipments included sweaters and other clothing, blankets, school supplies and hygiene kits. Another shipment is scheduled to be loaded and dispatched on September 22 and 23.
In Canada, CLWR has submitted 124 refugee sponsorship applications to date for Syrians on behalf of Canadian congregations, groups and families who wish to sponsor them to come to Canada. CLWR is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder with the Canadian government. CLWR continues to receive requests in record numbers from other Canadians who wish to help Syrian refugees find a safe home in Canada.
In particular, CLWR is anticipating applications for 500 refugee sponsorships over the next three years following the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s recent motion at the July national convention. It is expected that most of the 500 people will be Syrians.
“We’ve been on the front lines delivering aid to Syrian refugees with the support of Canadian Lutherans, our Canadian and international partners, communities in Jordan, and Syrian refugees themselves,” says Robert Granke, CLWR’s executive director. “We intend to continue doing so.”
“Although the needs are enormous, there are things Canadians can do. One way is make a donation to help those who are struggling to survive because of the conflict, or consider sponsoring refugees to come to Canada. Another is to pray for peace in the region, so people no longer need to flee. Please reach out today.”
Those who would like to make a donation to help those affected by the crisis in Syria can go to http://clwr.donorshops.com/product/685132A/syrianrefugeerelief.php.
For those interested in learning more about refugee sponsorship, please contact Fikre Tsehai, CLWR’s Development Manager for Refugee Resettlement, at 1.888.588.6686, or Jennifer Ardon, CLWR’s Project Officer for Refugee Resettlement, at 1.888.255.0150. Or visit our website at www.clwr.org/refugeeresettlement.
Canadian Lutheran World Relief carries out international relief, development and refugee resettlement on behalf of Canadian Lutherans. Our vision is world where people live in justice, peace and dignity, united in diversity and empowered to achieve their universal rights to basic needs and quality of life.