05Oct2022

SCM Medical Missions

Contacts

3806 Whitman Ave N
Seattle WA 98103

info@scmmedicalmissions

+1 206-545-7307

Category: Humanitarian Aid

AfghanistanHumanitarian AidRefugees

Wrapping Up 2021

Dear friends, supporters, and donors:

Many of you know, or might be aware, that since August of this year SCM has been heavily involved in supporting families and other vulnerable people seeking to leave Afghanistan. It started as a small project after getting a call from one of my friends, Dr Michael Failla, whom SCM works with in regard to the LGTB communities. He told me he had a group of 17 young Afghan men that needed to get out of Kabul and other areas. He said he had found a gentleman that was willing to work with us in getting a charter flight out of the country. He was working with a Task Force that was committed to get Afghan allies and their families. I said yes, we would be willing to help any way we could with this endeavor. I started to contact my old Afghan friends around the region to see who had business in Kabul and could help us with getting funding to the people or finding safe houses until the 17 men could be transported out of the country.

It is really hard to explain what this work is like to most people and to convey the stories that I was hearing at 3 or 4 in the morning from these young people that were being tortured, maimed, threatened with death, and stories of friends that had been killed. The work is all-consuming and fills my nights and days, but it also gives me so much energy knowing that we have to do this for humankind and help these people.

For the last 10 years SCM has been working and supporting refugee families through this great grassroots organization that is so full of volunteers that have such big hearts, they are willing to do whatever is needed to help these vulnerable people. We have worked with the Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi Lebanese refugees, and now with the Afghan refugees.

I started to reach out to people that I know in the governments in other countries to see how they could help and the answer I got back is “what do you want me to do?” We started to build a group of NGOs, charities, and just everyday people that wanted to help. I was up almost every day at 3 or 4 in the morning taking calls from people that found out about us and were requesting help for their families and friends. We had a woman that had contacts with the government in making list of families and individuals with all the pertinent information to get them on an evacuation list. I finally got the best news about a month ago that the 17 people were on a list of people to be evacuated out of the country.

The next step was to get them to the airport with all the right paperwork. We were able to do that with a lot of hard work and a lot of prayers. The flight was delayed but it was finally given permission about 24 hours later and it flew to Abu Dhabi. The men will stay there while we work on getting their paperwork to get them into Canada. It is so rewarding to hear the voices of these young men thanking us and so happy that they will be starting a new life. We still have so much more to do and this is only a small part of our work.

We are still working with the Afghan refugees that are coming into Washington state. There are 890 families to date, and more are coming in. The big NGOs are trying their best but due to the virus and cutbacks they do not have enough staffing. Also, they are not being given enough time to set things up and find accommodations for the incoming refugees. They only getting notice of arrival a couple of days before the families get here. We have 100 families that are staying in hotels right now until housing can be found for them. They have not gotten their paperwork to look for jobs or get the kids into school.

SCM has partnered with some of the NGOs to help get the refugees settled. We have also set up a free clothing store at a space that has been donated by a church in Renton. It is open on Fridays and Saturday every week and families come in and get what they need – warm clothing, essential hygiene products, household supplies, furniture, and other needed items. We are getting them new mattresses that are being donated by the Church of Latter Day Saints, and will help to make sure they have housing, food, and basic necessities.

We are still providing medical, food, and humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in Jordan and to the people of Lebanon. We are a small NGO, but all the volunteers have hearts that are so big, and they want to do what they can to make this a BETTER PLACE.

Still, we need your help. As the year is coming to an end, please help us by making a tax-deductible donation that will help us buy food, medicines, school supplies, pay rent for refugee families, and more. Please join us – any donation that you can make would be so appreciated. I will keep getting up at 2 or 3 in the morning and take those calls and help anyone that is asking me. That is what we are about at SCM.

Thank you for your continued support and Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

~Rita

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Clothing Bank for Refugees

Our clothing store, or bank, that we had set up at another church in Renton has been moved to a new location that we will be able to use for the next two months. Thank you to all the volunteers who help make the move!

Our three main hero’s that made this happen – Kathy, Fareeda, and Pamela. They found the location, got volunteers and organized the setup. We had about 44 for the move and we started at 9:30am and had everything done by 2:30pm on moving day.

The new clothing bank will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 10-2 every week through January 2022. Refugees can come in to get clothing, hygiene supplies, and diapers.

We can always use vaccinated volunteers to help the families when they come to get supplies!

Location:

15255 SE Fairwood Blvd
Renton, WA 98058

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‘I’m just trying to survive’

CNN has reported on the story of the two Afghan men SCM is helping to get to safety. Our friend and LGBTQ activist Michael Failla is leading this effort. You can read the full article here about escaping one city and then being in hiding in Kabul, and their escape to Pakistan where they are waiting to be approved to come to the US.

And please donate to help them with survival expenses and to help them get on their feet once they are in the US.

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LGBTQI Afghans in Need

When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021, Ahmed and his younger brother Mahmoud had no choice but to run. They left their home with all their possessions, found a hiding spot in a tiny room with no toilet or bathroom and stayed there terrified for weeks while their government collapsed and their country changed completely.

Ahmed is gay, in a country where being LGBTQ is punishable by death from the Taliban  – who have avowed to continue this horrific practice. He received death threats and was actively being hunted.

Both brothers are also Hazara, an ethnic minority much persecuted in Central Asia. The brothers’ own father was killed in a massacre of Hazara males when they were small children. They converted to Christianity but being ex-Muslim and Christian puts them in danger from religious fundamentalists, who see renouncing their religion as blasphemy.

Thankfully, they have escaped to Pakistan but they are constantly under threat of being forcibly returned to Afghanistan like many refugees before them. 

We’re helping them apply for safety in the US but there’s a long way to go. If you’d like to sign their petition, click here! 

We are raising funds to help support the brothers while they await the outcome of their asylum claim. Both are talented and hardworking, with a huge variety of experience. We want to support them until they are able to reach safety and become part of and contribute to the community. Ahmed wants to become an LGBTQ advocate, helping people in his situation and Mahmoud wants to complete his studies at university.

Can you help these brothers? We need funds to help maintain them while they receive their asylum claim, and also to find their feet when they arrive in the US. Every little counts!

Please share with your friends and thank you!

AfghanistanCommunity ServiceHumanitarian AidRefugees

Helping Afghan Refugees in Seattle

SCM Medical Missions has set up a “store” in north Seattle where refugees can come and pick up items they need like clothing, hygiene supplies, and more. We have filled a space donated by Luther Memorial Lutheran Church in Greenwood (130th and Greenwood Ave) with donated clothing and other items. The “store” will be open 3 days a week so refugees can come during those hours (right now set for M-T-W from 10am to 1pm).

We are accepting donations to keep the store stocked as more refugees arrive in the area. Please contact us at 206-545-7307 or 206-601-1141. We are also in need of furniture like beds and school supplies for the children – contact us for details.

If you don’t have any clothes or furniture to donate, please consider a monetary donation. Thank you!

Recent KOMO Radio story about SCM and Afghan refugees with Rita Zawaideh
Part 2 of that story
Humanitarian AidLebanonMedical Aid

People Going Hungry in Lebanon

In Lebanon, people are going hungry because of the economic collapse. They simply do not have the money to buy food unless they can get US dollars to buy things, and too many people are not able to do that – they don’t have international connections and the banks are not letting people withdraw US dollars, a currency that had been used interchangeably with the Lebanese lira for years, and in fact the lira had been pegged to the dollar until 2019. For a better explanation of the economic downfall of Lebanon, read this article in The Nation magazine.

The economic situation is so dire right now with inflation causing prices to skyrocket, that people who were making a living wage, middle class income, can no longer afford to buy food, get gas for their cars or pay for electricity. So much is imported into Lebanon that is no longer available or in extremely short supply, such as wheat, paracetamol for pain relief and other medications, and the black marketeers are stepping up their activity for a price. Even women’s hygiene products are becoming extremely scarce, causing other effects for women in an already difficult situation.

SCM is active in Lebanon helping get food and medications to the people. We have also set up two free clinics to serve people who can’t afford to go to the doctor. We sent the first of two containers filled with supplies you donated to Lebanon to weeks ago and we have another awaiting the confirmation by the shipping company for the departure date. It will be loaded with more supplies including medical supplies, baby formula and diapers, solar lanterns, and other needed items. Our team in Lebanon will make sure every item is given to someone in need.