Our clinic in Lebanon is shaping up! We have started moving the equipment in and getting things organized. We are planning for an opening at the end of this month.
The clinic is located in Sidon, which is just south of Beirut. The space will allow for several exam rooms for both medical and dental services. And this is where the medications you donated for Lebanon will be distribute from this clinic.
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.
SCM’s representative in Lebanon, Ali Osseiran, has been busy with his team organizing distributions for the goods that finally arrived there – after almost a year in bureaucratic limbo. The first of several distributions took place in a town east of Saida called Mesh Elhabaes.
The donations distributed included blankets and quilts, medical equipment, walkers and crutches, hygiene supplies, clothing and toys. These are people hit hard by the economic collapse in Lebanon. They are getting basic supplies from SCM that they would otherwise have a hard time, or not be able to find at all.
We will have more photos from our distributions over the next few weeks so you can see that your donations are getting into the hands of refugees and people hit hard by the economic troubles of the country.
SCM did a distribution last week in Jordan that included hand-made dolls, stuffed animals, wheelchairs and crutches. These were sent over last year in a container to our warehouse in Jordan. Thank you to the people who donated the toys and the medical equipment!
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.
For most people 2020 was the most globally disruptive and devastating year in their lives. Lockdowns, restrictions on movements, persecutions, corruption, high unemployment, etc. This was taking place all around the world. Think of the refugees that had everything taken from them due to wars and unrest in their countries.
The only thing that gives me hope for the human race is the support that SCM gets from people like you. I know that you are going through your own hardships, but at the same time understand what others are going through. Amidst the pandemic and the political and economic hardships our donors are still giving and helping. I am again asking for your help in Lebanon, which took a major blow on August 4th when warehouses that were storing abandoned, unstable chemicals blew up and devastated the port area of Beirut.
With your support we have been able to get vital medications, clothing, and medical equipment to the people. With a following of people with big hearts we have been able to supply over $50,000 worth of medical supplies just this year, but there is still so much more to do. Our fundraising goal for Lebanon over the next few weeks is to raise $35,000 to buy more medications and food and finish setting up the clinics we have planned.
We are also collecting items for a 40ft container that is going out at the end of March to Lebanon. We will be opening a free clinic in Saida for the people in need: giving them medicines, clothing, food vouchers and a place that they can come to learn how to support themselves with training classes. To do this we still need your help. We are trying to raise enough money to get more supplies to the people of Lebanon, including the Syrians and Palestinians that are living there and need help.
Our Regional Manager recently went to Lebanon to bring them medications not available in Lebanon and funds for food that we distributed in the Bekka Valley and in Saida.
Dear SCM Friends: 2020 was a historic and trying year for all of us. I can’t thank you enough for all the support that you have given us during these tough times. I just want to say thank you to all of you, from your monetary support to the support of goods and donations and that you have given to us, thank you. In 2020 I thought, at times, that we might not make it through the year. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were asking ourselves what we were going to do, what we would be able to do. Everyone was being told to stay home, work from home, go out only for essential things. So many people were suddenly out of work. It was hard to see then how we could get anything done except make phone calls and send emails!
We made a commitment to help keep local refugees in their homes and the lights on. As we all figured things out and the scientists learned more about the virus, we figured out ways to do things like a container loading and clothing drive to raise funds. You stepped up in a big way to keep our refugee rent assistance program going and also to help refugees in Jordan and Greece. Then the explosion at the Port of Beirut happened on August 4th, and we had to switch our focus from the Syrian refugees to the Lebanese people and others that are living in Lebanon. This threw everything into chaos as we scrambled to find a way to help.
But we just do not have the people power to keep this going. People are suffering and our donor base is also suffering from the lack of work and their own issues to keep their families together, safe and healthy. We had to change focus and do it fast. COVID-19 was spreading fast in the region and we had orders from the governments that we had to maintain quarantine, which means that we were not able to do distributions that were so needed in both Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. We needed to get special permissions, which we did, but at the same time we wanted to make sure that our volunteers were also protected.
This made it a very difficult time for SCM. But with the help of people like you are donors and supporters we were able to help and get medicines and other humanitarian supplies out to the right people and still keep our own volunteers safe.
Just a few days ago, an entire refugee camp in Lebanon was burned to the ground, leaving hundreds of people who already had so little, with nothing, once again. So we can’t let up now.
From the first days of lockdown in March, it was clear that SCMs work was going to be challenged by the circumstance, but it would be more important than ever to the people we serve. We adapted and grew to meet the obstacles the best we could. I’m so proud of our incredible team that kept going through it all.
SCM is grateful for you all for your support and for standing by the vulnerable people in our community and in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Greece. We wish you and your loved ones much health joy peace and hope 2021 will be a brighter year.
Thank you again for all your support and remember this is not over yet so please keep standing beside us. We need you more than ever.