SCM is dedicated to helping the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. We are focusing much of our efforts on helping women and children, not only because they are the majority of the refugee population, but also because they have often lost everything including their main breadwinner in the family. We are developing programs to help support them in many different ways, from skills training to schools in the camps.
In Zaatari, we are partnering with the UNHCR to provide skills training to women there so they can earn their own money to support their families. So many women are now the main support for their families, and they need a marketable skill to help them provide for their families. They are being taught to sew on a commercial level, and SCM is helping to provide the sewing machines that the students will then be able to keep after they complete the program, allowing them get started on their own right away. The program is also teaching other skills such as weaving and recycling textiles to make into other items.
The cost of the sewing machine is a small price to pay to help a woman support her family. Please help us keep the supply of machines consistent so every woman who wants to join the program is able to do so, and also keep the machine afterwards.
While the governments in Jordan and Lebanon are trying to accommodate the refugees and help the children get some kind of an education, and even though these programs face many challenges, they are supported by the UNHCR and UNICEF, among other larger aid groups. The refugees in Greece so far have not been able to get such support, so SCM is doing what we can to help get children back in school. The EU is trying to formulate a plan to help alleviate this crisis, but in the meantime, SCM will be conducting classes to help stem the loss of time in some kind of educational environment.
Many of the Syrian children have been out of school for five years now, and a recent (and unofficial) survey by our coordinator in one of the camps in Greece found that not one child there under the age of 11 has been to school yet. Not only are they missing out on learning to read and write, and arithmetic, they are also missing out on the social value of interacting with other children and adults in the classroom setting. We have started schools in two of the camps in Greece, and we have worked with partners in Lebanon to support schools in the refugee communities there.
The schools we are setting up in Greece will teach grammar and arithmetic, and there will be English language lessons, plus additional language programs such as German and Greek for the adults, and we are working with refugees who are teachers to help with the classes, giving them an important role in the future of their children. We are getting a new structure built to house the school at Iliadis, and we will be getting chairs or benches and tables so the students don’t have to sit on the floor. The children and adults alike, are very happy about the school.
Life goes on for the people, even as they flee from violence and destruction, women are arriving in Greece pregnant and in need of services to help them with prenatal care. After a photo went viral of a newborn baby being washed with bottled water over a puddle in a camp near Idomeni where the mother had given birth without assistance in their small tent, we knew we could do something to help those women. We have found several condominium units that we can rent in the city of Polykastro where we can provide temporary housing for women and their immediate family right before birth and for a short recovery period after the birth. We have a visiting nurse that checks up on the expecting mothers and a doctor that will be there to deliver the baby when it’s time. This will help give the mothers a safe, clean place to give birth and be with her new baby, rest and make sure there are no complications. The immediate family can also stay in the apartment with her, and then when the baby and mom are ready they will go back to the camp. Continued medical is provided by one of the medical clinics at the camps as needed.
BABY BOX PROGRAM
In March 2016 the 5000th baby was born in Zaatari Refugee Camp in northern Jordan. Many of those were born to first time mothers who have very little in the way of baby supplies. Each kit contains clothes, cloth diapers, a blanket, knit cap, sweater, booties, and mittens and a variety of other items for the mom and baby. We have a group of super dedicated volunteer knitters and sewers who will be providing the booties, hats, sweaters, blankets, and more. We need your help getting the boxes.
The box itself can double as a bassinet, providing a safe and secure place for the baby to sleep. Many of the families don’t have bassinets or cribs and the babies sleep with the parents. The Baby Box contains a mattress, waterproof cover, and a sheet. We have teamed with the Baby Box Company who has created these wonderful boxes based on the
Finnish model of providing a baby box to every new mother, a project undertaken in the late 1930s in Finland to help combat the extremely high infant mortality rate. It has been a huge success over the decades, with the infant mortality rate dropping precipitously, and is catching on in other countries. We want to help the most vulnerable mothers and babies in the refugee camps in Jordan in a similar way.
In 2015 we sent 100 kits, and in 2016 our goal is to get 200 boxes and 300 kits if supplies to the refugees in Jordan. We will continue this program in to the future to help the babies and their mothers. Please help us keep this program going by donating to our Women and Children’s fund.
MALKI CHILDREN’S CENTER
In addition to schools, we started the Malki Center in Amman, Jordan, to provide emotional support and therapy for children suffering from post traumatic stress. In June of 2013 our Children’s Center opened for a pilot session in with 29 students. We were allowed to use a space formerly used by Save the Children, but they ended their program, and let us use the space on a temporary basis.
After that pilot session concluded and was deemed a success, we found a new space and set up the Malki Children’s Center, in Amman. It was opened in November 2013 with the first session beginning in January of 2014, and has expanded to include more mental health treatment for the children. It has been approved by the Jordanian Ministry of Social Development as a social center. It is a program primarily for Syrian refugee children, with 20% of the children being Jordanian.
The Malki Children’s Center serves children from 6 to 12 years old and actively involves parents of the children served in parent committees and discussion groups. Programming includes discussions focused on the well-being, care and learning of their children, knowing that children are best served if parents are part of their growth and development.
The goal of this project is to ensure that children traumatized by exposure to war and violence are able to cope with those experiences and find it possible to achieve their potential. Trauma-sensitive environments benefit all children – those whose trauma history is known, those whose trauma will never be clearly identified and those that have been impacted by their traumatized family, friends or community. This project seeks to ensure that all children we serve will be able to achieve at their highest levels despite whatever traumatic circumstances they may have endured.