06Feb2023

SCM Medical Missions

Contacts

3806 Whitman Ave N
Seattle WA 98103

info@scmmedicalmissions

+1 206-545-7307

Category: Afghanistan

AfghanistanHumanitarian AidJordanLebanonRefugeesSyriaWomen & Children

End of the Year Recap

As 2022 comes to a close, we want to thank everyone who has been a part of SCM Medical Missions’ many achievements this year. We have had so many volunteers help with resettled refugees, here in the Seattle area and across Washington state, and also overseas. People have helped in our clothing banks set up for the incoming Afghan refugees, delivered supplies from Seattle to Spokane, helped families with paperwork and job searches, and even obtaining a vehicle. We have a new representative for our Lebanon work who travels between Seattle and Beirut several times a year to organize distributions, take care of the incoming containers and warehouse, and set up our new clinics.

Thank you!

Resettlement

In October we celebrated some of the first Syrian refugees that arrived here over six years ago, becoming US citizens. It was a great event, and we got to hear from some of them about their experiences when they first arrived and what it has been like to be a refugee and come to a new country. We also had presentations by the director of the state’s refugee office, a member of another NGO working with refugees, and the Deputy Mayor of Bothell, a Muslim-American who immigrated to the US with his family as a child from.

We have helped get newly arrived Syrian families set up in their new apartments in Spokane. The Amazon wish lists we have put together for them have been a big help as it allows items to be shipped directly to the family in Spokane. A larger NGO helps the refugees get an apartment and some furniture, but so many household items are left to the family to get, basic things like bedding, towels, dishes and cooking utensils and pots and pans, cleaning supplies. By setting up the Amazon lists, we help them save whatever money they may have, which is usually very little, for things like future rent after the three months provided by the resettlement agency runs out, or utility bills. You have even helped them with groceries and warm winter coats.

Earlier in 2022 we were collecting clothing, bicycles, laptops, hygiene supplies, and sewing machines for the resettled Afghan refugees in the Seattle/Renton area, and you came through for us with your donations and volunteering at the refugee service center where the local refugees in need come come and pick up the clothing and other items they needed. It was a huge success, serving up to 160 refugees each time it was opened. We had bicycle donations from individuals and groups like Holy Spokes and businesses like Harvey’s Bicycles. Sewing machines were brought in to give to the families, along with sewing supplies and tools.

LGBTQ

We have also been assisting LGBTQ community members and Gender Rights Activists get out of Afghanistan and to safety. In Afghanistan they are now subject to execution, and in some of the most horrific ways. They travel via Pakistan before continuing on to either the US or Canada. We are supporting them while they wait in Pakistan to continue their journey, and then there are sponsors we are working with in Canada who will help them locally. In Canada the refugees will receive help for a year from the government, rather than just three months, but they often still need additional assistance for things other than rent and food. The sponsors also help them with paperwork, familiarizing them with their new city, and in general helping them feel welcome and connected to the community. Most of all, they help them discover their freedom to be who they want to be and love who they want to love.

Lebanon

SCM now has two warehouses in the Middle East. One is in Jordan that we have had for many years, and the other one is in Lebanon that was just opened this year. We had shipped several containers to Lebanon during the pandemic, and due to a number of reasons, they were held up in customs for over a year. The shipping costs also rose during the pandemic. A 40-foot container once cost $2500 to send to Lebanon but the price has gone over $7000. We thank you for the continued support as we absorbed these increased costs to sending aid to the people of Lebanon.

One way we have been able to continue to get aid to Lebanon has been to send suitcases filled with needed items such as medications, solar lanterns, and other small items with people traveling to the region. The suitcases are then handed off to our local coordinators who get them to the warehouse and also see to their distribution. Cash donations are also sent to purchase food and medicines locally and distribute to the people in need.

Another impact of the pandemic was not being able to conduct medical missions to Jordan or other areas where we had previously been working. Now that travel is much less restricted, we will be organizing a mission to Lebanon in early 2023 and opening a new women and children’s clinic there alongside our new dental clinic. We have rented a 2500 square-foot space and it will be furnished with a dental suite donated by a dentist here in Seattle along with other medical supplies and equipment sent in our containers from Seattle. Without these donations we would not be able to make this work.

Plans for 2023

In 2023 we will continue to help the resettled refugees in Washington. As they arrive, SCM is notified that there is a new family and we will continue to create Amazon lists and provide other assistance to take up any shortfall they may be facing.

SCM is putting a renewed focus on the LGBTQ refugees and Gender Rights Activists, helping them get to safety. We are working with a group of sponsors that are helping the Afghan LGBTQ refugees make their was through Pakistan and other neighboring countries to get to Canada or the US. We will continue to help with expenses for daily living as well as the costs of visas and other paperwork.

One of our biggest projects for 2023 will be to maintain the clinics in Lebanon. After the explosion at the Port of Beirut and the economic collapse in the country, so many people are still unable to access primary medical and dental care. Our clinic will be for those in need and we will try to help as many people as we can. Be sure to watch for the medical mission announcements and please donate to help the people of Lebanon with our new clinics.

To keep the medical and dental clinics staffed and operating we estimate the cost will be about $5000 per month. Once they are open, we will have regular medical and dental missions there where volunteer doctors, dentists, and nurses can come and help out for a week or so. We need to continue to raise funds for the clinic to ensure that the people in need there will have access and can get general care.

All of us at SCM in Seattle, Jordan, and Lebanon wish you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and prosperous new year and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support!

AfghanistanHumanitarian AidRefugeesSyriaWomen & Children

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

Summer new arrival Refugees multiplied Saturday! 61 adults with many excited children from 40 families came for our special supplies and the heavy bag per family of more than 25 different hygiene supplies. We were amply ready for the total 160 refugees we served on their winding road.

A bumper crop of refurbished adult and kids bikes with new helmets and locks brought lots of joy. Seeing Afghan women and girls who can now ride energized our 9 Volunteers and 4 noon reinforcement helpers. So did the 20 laptop computers we gave in canvas satchels.

It was a 3-way tie for Best with our Sewing Station – 10 new, donated sewing machines, and several used machines meant we could almost meet the prize most Afghan women sought. With lots of generously donated bolts of fabric, scissors, spools of thread, needles and sewing notions, I could have hung out there to enjoy the masked smiles had I not been checking in so many lovely Refugee Brothers and Sisters!
Thanks to our four Afghan Translators and big hearted Volunteers who made this day possible. Caring Fairwood UMC Volunteers and others join SCM Medical Missions to surpass the offerings each week with surprise furnishings placed outside for new arrivals: dishes, cookware, glasses, platters, house furnishings, linens, rugs, strollers, etc. Much needed and appreciated.

The other important service here is listening to the Refugees’ resettlement concerns and sharing recommendations. This wasn’t built into the Center’s plan, but it’s grown among all Volunteers to ease the Afghans’ burdens. Whether for job searching, transportation, health contacts, rent questions, or problems, Volunteers make visits and continue helping families after the Center closes. It’s reassuring that the Refugees can call kind locals with their concerns. Though Summer’s arrival will soon conclude our assistance of supplies, we hope our impact improves many days to come for many Refugees!

So on we go. . . .

~Pamela, SCM Coordinator

Support SCM refugee programs by donating here: https://www.scmmedicalmissions.org/donations-listing/

AfghanistanCommunity ServiceHumanitarian AidRefugees

Refugee Center Update

Supplies were ready for our small crew of 10 Volunteers to hand out to 19 families. Afghan and some Syrian families were surprised by lots of dishes, pot and pans, bedspreads and sheets, and a variety of house furnishings that Volunteers secured and placed along the sidewalk for the taking. Inside, besides our usual many hygiene essentials, the 31 adults with their 10 children along, had a big selection of bicycles and bolts of beautiful fabrics. Sharing Wheels in Everett and Holy Spokes added to donations given from Bicycle Rescue for Youth to be ready for kids and adults seeking bikes, helmets, and locks.

Seeing uncertain Refugee faces, who enter the unfamiliar Refugee Center, brighten as they collect available supplies is really heartwarming. Eight-year-old Hafizullah was serious, tentative, and looked just like his younger sister, until his wish to get a bicycle came true. As soon as he walked in the “bike parlor”, this quiet little boy spied the perfect red and white bike and grabbed it. He was pedaling in circles, whether he’d ridden before, or his guardian angel was by his side! Hafizullah was all smiles occupied by that perfect little bike. Good our Volunteer slowed him down long enough to adjust and fasten a red, child’s helmet safely on his head.

Stocking the sewing station is challenging. All week we search, spread the request to donate sewing machines and wait to see repairs that our station Lead can make used ones hum. We never have enough for all the Afghan women who need one, but this week bolts of donated fabric provided yards worth we could cut for them. Hopefully, more machines and much more thread, scissors and notions will get donated that we’ll enjoy giving to Moms.

As Memorial Day nears, we have one last Friday at the Center before we switch to Saturdays in June. Though we served a total of 68 Refugees, counting their children and spouses at home, it will be easier for more Afghan families to come on Saturdays. We hope that potential Volunteers who work during the week will be finally be able to help too. It’s definitely still much needed and heartwarming for givers and receivers alike!

~Pamela


Thanks to our partners MCRC and Essentials First for all their help in gather donations and supplies for the center!

Shop for the refugees on our Amazon Wish List and have the items shipped directly to SCM.

If you have a sewing machine to donate (new or used in good working order), please contact us to arrange drop-off details.


Announcement! Beginning on Saturday June 4th, our Refugee Center days at the Fairwood Community United Methodist Church will be on Saturdays rather than Fridays. This will give more people an opportunity to volunteer and the refugees who are working an opportunity to come in and get supplies they need.


We are also in need of hygiene items ASAP:

~Underwear (Girls 8 and 4; Women’s 5,6,7; Men’s M, L, XL)
~Bottled or powder Laundry Detergent
~Brushes & Combs
~Baby Wash
~Spools of black & white Thread

If you have any of these items and wish to donate them please contact us for drop off information.

AfghanistanHumanitarian AidNewsRefugees

Afghanistan, Ukraine refugees get bikes, bus passes and rides

One nonprofit needs volunteers to repair 40 kids bikes for refugees. Another agency could use cash gift cards.

By Ben Watanabe
Monday, May 16, 2022 1:30am

Refugees fleeing violence in Afghanistan and Ukraine arrive in Snohomish County with what they can carry.

That means they don’t have a set of wheels, or a driver’s license.

But they have to get around like everyone else.

“When they left the country, they brought whatever they could carry on their back. That’s what they have,” Refugee and Immigrant Services Northwest executive director Van Dinh-Kuno said. “When they arrive to our county, they all need transportation.”

It can take two to three months for a newly arrived refugee proficient in English to get a driver’s license, Dinh-Kuno said. For those who don’t speak English well, it can take a year.

Plus they need time to get a job and save money to buy a vehicle.

Continue to full article.

Juan Luna (left) and Jeff Austin tune up bicycles Tuesday at Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop to be donated to child refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AfghanistanHumanitarian AidRefugees

Refugee Assistance Update 5-16-2022

The many Afghan Refugees we helped was another day of learning for all. How we elevate and improve the Refugees' condition teaches us how to build community, which starts with love. This important ingredient is present in the mix of every Friday. Volunteers, who give much caring, time, donations, and personal help on Fridays and beyond, receive the fruits of kindness in return: lives made a little better, hope given.

We greeted 26 families in all! Though 38 adults with 23 of their children came to the Center, our 10 Volunteers packed provisions for many at-home spouses and children: a grand total of about 110 refugees served (more if newborns didn't make it in the tally)!

Hygiene products remain most needed. Necessities like diapers, laundry detergent, deodorant and sanitary pads are too expensive for families without an income yet. Weekly supplies of underwear and socks to give is a challenge for us, so we know it's near impossible for our Visitors to buy, if we can't furnish them.

Then there's the most satisfying for Refugees of all ages and Volunteers: bicycles with helmets, computers and sewing machines! Not just for utilitarian or fun uses, but for attaining freedom and opportunities in their new communities.

In 1896, women's rights activist Susan B Anthony, said “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel.”

I share that sentiment! We're uplifted every time a little girl, teen or her Mom leaves with a bicycle and a happy Dad who knows they will be welcome cycling in our communities.
~Pamela Van Swearingen, Coordinator

AfghanistanHumanitarian AidRefugeesWomen & Children

Afghan Refugee Assistance – Update

Neither Easter nor Ramadan slowed the stream of new Afghan Refugee parents and children. We were ready with provisions for Friday’s 20 families comprising 88 refugees of 42 adults and their 46 children. Met by 15 Volunteers, SCM Founder Rita and Translator Khayam, 32 parents with 14 kids came in the Center to receive lots of hygiene essentials, school supplies, computers, sewing machines and surprise Eid Celebration kits for children.

While we offer loads of clothes, when I think of the collections of “hygiene essentials” and the “Donors” (individual, nonprofit and corporate), it floods me with gratitude. This is kindness pouring out week after week because people really care about the plight and needs of the Refugees.

Our essentials for whole families: diapers; underwear; socks; baby wipes, wash, lotion and shampoo; adult body wash and bar soap; feminine sanitary pads; shampoo and conditioner; brushes and combs; toothpaste, toothbrushes and floss; deodorant; razors; reader glasses; nail clippers; cleaning products – bottles of liquid dish and laundry detergent, and cleanser. Sometimes we even have nail polish, cosmetics or jewelry to make the day a little brighter for the women.

This Hygiene Corner bulges with special extras: handmade quilts for the children, fabric “dolls for hope”; a big assortment of school supplies, color books, and often backpacks. Just past this station is a large toy area that includes stuffed animals and books that entertain children while parents get their “toys” – bicycles and helmets, laptops, or sewing machines, notions and fabric, depending on what Donors have sent us.

Committed Donors are Bicycle Rescue for Youth that serves Maple Valley and Issaquah, Covington Kiwanis Club, Sharing Wheels from Everett, Mel Nason’s Holy Spokes and Harvey’s Bike Shop in Lynnwood. Essentials First often helps us with hygiene products and joined in furnishing Eid Celebrations kits. For desperately needed laptops, Starbucks donated generously. Early learning KidsCentre in Seattle has showered us with school supplies and backpacks.

Equally impressive are places of worship who regularly contact us with help. This giving is matched by individuals who surprise us by quietly bringing needed items and gift cards, so we can replenish to meet the needs of all new arrival Afghan Refugees every week.

We can only say Thank You, Thank You to all who give and volunteer. Don’t forget them. And, don’t forget the needs of the Refugees!

~Pamela Van Swearingen, Coordinator

Rita (2nd from the right), Pamela (3rd from the right), and Emily (2nd from the right, middle row) with our volunteers. A big thank you to all our amazing volunteers who manage the weekly distributions, collect donations, and assist the refugees when they come in. We couldn’t do it without you!