02Feb2023

SCM Medical Missions

Contacts

3806 Whitman Ave N
Seattle WA 98103

info@scmmedicalmissions

+1 206-545-7307

Category: Syria

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!

Humanitarian AidRefugeesSyria

Wish Lists for Spokane Families

SCM continues to help newly resettled refugees all over Washington state get settled into their new homes. We set up Amazon Wish Lists of things they need that will be shipped directly to them. Currently, all the families we are helping are in Spokane and have arrived within the last 2 months. Below are the links to the wish lists for each family. The one listed first is the most recent arrival. The wish lists will be updated as we find out more of the families’ needs so be sure to check back once in a while to see if anything has been added. Thank you for all your help to these families!

Saud Abdel Karim Hassan Family – Spokane

Hassan Family – Spokane

Tallouj Family – Spokane

Idrees Family – Spokane

AlZoubi Family – Spokane

Al-Hussin family – Spokane

Community EventsRefugeesSyria

Celebrate Citizenship was a Success!

Thank you!

We had a great event on Sunday. We thank everyone who attended, our wonderful volunteers, the speakers, and Amal Sedky Winter, who stepped in at the last minute to take over as master of ceremonies when Judge Shadid let us know he was sick and could not make it. She did an amazing job of keeping things going. We also thank Hanna Eady for providing background music on his oud as people were arriving. 

Congratulations to all the new US citizens, who received messages of congratulations and acknowledgement from Senators Murray and Cantwell, and Governor Inslee. They were also reminded that now they can participate in elections by voting and they can even run for office if they want! 

We have images of the letters from the elected officials, photos from the event, and videos at the bottom. Again, thank you to all who attended, our speakers, and our supporters for making this happen, and our biggest congratulations to our newest US Citizens!

Humanitarian AidRefugeesSyria

New Syrian Families Resettled in Spokane

Two new Syrian families have just been resettled in Spokane, WA and need our help to get the essentials for their new homes. We have started Amazon Wish Lists for each of them.

The Al Hussin family has 4 children between the ages of 1 year and 10 years old, with 2 boys and 4 girls. The Al Zoubi family also has for children, but they are older: a 22, 21 19, and 15 year old daughters and a 17 and 9 year old sons. They have traveled a long way and have been waiting a long time to get to a place they can call home. We have included kitchen, bathroom, cleaning basics as well as bedding and a few toys/fun thigs for the kids. If you don’t see an item on the list it has likely already been purchased for them, but if you think of something that should be on the list, let me know and I will add it. Any items ordered from the lists will automatically be shipped to the respective family.

Al Zoubi Family wish list

Al Hussin Family wish list

Thank you for your support!

RefugeesSyria

Citizenship Celebration

Celebrate with us!

When the Arab Spring turned into civil war in Syria in 2012, SCM Medical Missions stepped up to help provide medical and humanitarian aid to the thousands of refugees fleeing across the border into Jordan. Since that time, we have evolved with the changing times and have gone from providing emergency medical care to more sustained assistance in Jordan and Lebanon, to helping refugees resettled in Washington state.

The refugees that came here with just a suitcase of clothes and maybe a few personal items have made new lives for themselves. Many have been able to find jobs in our tech industry or other growing industries or trades, children are attending and excelling in school, others have started their own businesses. SCM has been there to help make sure they don’t fall through the cracks, and we have been so proud of their many successes.

Now, we are going to celebrate another success: citizenship. Many of the resettled Syrian refugees have worked hard and gained their US citizenship and we want to showcase their achievement.

We invite you to help us celebrate and highlight the positive impact the refugees have had on Washington and Washingtonians. The event is October 9, 2022, at 3 pm at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle. We will have several presentations, Arabic sweets, tea and coffee, and time for people to mingle and have an opportunity to talk to the refugees. 

Please join us!

Refugee children visiting the Museum of Flight in Seattle
Refugee families attneding the ballet in Seattle
Program

Our program is still being worked out and we will add to it here as events are confirmed.  

3:00 Welcome
3:10 Judge Damon Shadid – MC
3:20 Sarah Peterson, DSHS CHIEF / Washington Office of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance
3:30 Husni Al Jamali, new US Citizen
3:40 Elfatih Abdelnabi – Immigration Coordinator at IRC
3:50 Nour Al Mseift, new US Citizen
4:00 Rami Al-Kabra, Council Member/Deputy Mayor of Bothell
4:10 Shireen Al Nabelsi, new US Citizen
4:20 Rita Zawaideh, Director of SCM

Free time to mingle, meet our newest citizens

Event ends at 5:00pm

More about our esteemed MC, the Honorable Damon Shadid

Judge Damon Shadid joined the Seattle Municipal Court bench in January 2014, the first popularly elected judge of Middle Eastern descent in the State of Washington. Prior to being elected, Judge Shadid worked as a private practitioner in the areas of immigration and criminal defense, specializing in representing non-citizen defendants in criminal court. Judge Shadid’s practice has been varied over the years, practicing in the areas of criminal defense, immigration, civil liability, family law, and bankruptcy.

Before taking the bench, Judge Shadid was committed to serving the public through engagement with community groups including the Race and Social Justice Community Roundtable, the Racial Justice Report Card, and the Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System. Since taking the bench, Judge Shadid has continued to serve the legal community including serving on the District and Municipal Judges’ Association Board of Directors, The Washington State Legal Financial Obligations Stakeholder Consortium, and engaging with school age children in educating about the criminal justice system.

The event will be held at St. Marks’s Episcopal Cathedral in the Bloedel Hall. The address is 1245 10th Ave E. Seattle WA 98102. 

Food AidHumanitarian AidJordanRefugeesSyriaUNHCRWomen & Children

Za’atari Refugee Camp Needs Our Help

“After ten years, half of the Syrian population has been forced to flee their homes. (…) The gravity of this crisis must not weaken our solidarity for Syrians. On the contrary, we must redouble our collective effort to support both refugees and the communities hosting them. “

Filippo Grandi, UNHCR High Commissioner

Ten years ago, on July 28, 2012, the Za’atari Refugee Camp opened in Jordan to shelter the Syrians fleeing the war in their home country. At the time everyone thought it would be temporary. That was ten years ago. The camp now is on the top ten list of most populous cities in Jordan with 80,000 residents – just slightly less than the population of Aqaba. This is down from the all-time high of 156,000 in 2013 before a second camp opened in Zarqa to the east, but it is still a very large population of people living in poor conditions in the middle of an open semi-desert area. It is operated by the UN and has a number of other agencies and NGOs that help on a regular basis, but they are all stretched thin due to crises in other locations around the world.

The UNHCR has put out a call to all those currently working with the camp, and those, like SCM who have helped in the past but have had to move on to other emergencies, to step up in anyway they can to stop a rapidly deteriorating situation. SCM is going to answer this call with your help.

Za’atari has transformed into a medium sized city in Jordan with 1800 shops and businesses that employ 3600 refugees. The UNHCR also helps the refugees get work permits with an aim to reduce dependency on aid, but with the economic situation in Jordan, this is very difficult. The camp has 32 schools and over 55 community centers and provides basic medical services to the refugees. Each refugee family receives some assistance, and the economic activity in the camp spills out into the local area including the nearby city of Mafraq. The aid is being converted into mobile payments to make it easier for people to get and spend the aid, and even save a bit, especially if they have a job or operate a business in the camp. But for 80,000 people, it is not enough.

“Shams Elysees” or main shopping and business street in the camp. The name is a play on the Arabic word for Damascus. All kinds of businesses have opened here – cell phone shops, wedding dress stores, bakeries and restaurants, bicycle and motorcycle repair shops, and more.

In 2013 the UNHCR began replacing the tents with caravans (portable buildings) that are essentially four walls, a floor and a roof. They might have a small sink, some shelving and a storage cabinet, and mattress pads for sitting and sleeping. The lifespan of the caravans is only 6-8 years, so the majority are in urgent need of repair. These shelters have become home to the Syrians, and they are trying to make the best of them, but the structures were not meant for long-term continued use.

The economic fallout of covid is also affecting the refugees, which are allowed work permits to get jobs in most sectors in Jordan, but the lack of job openings means many remain unemployed. They are forced to depend on dwindling assistance from the UN and other agencies to survive.

Water is another issue creating hardship for the refugees. Most refugees at the camp say the water they have access to is not enough to survive on. This is a problem intensified by water shortages from the Euphrates River and extreme heat in the region. Jordan gets some of its water from Israel, and some from the Euphrates River in Syria, which is dammed by Turkey, and access is sometimes used as a bargaining chip, or threat, depending on the issue.

The camp is powered by solar power, but the camp has grown beyond the original required output estimates of the power plant, leaving the residents of the camp electricity for 9-11 hours per day. Water storage tanks are inadequate to their needs and the delivery of water to the tanks needs to be increased, especially during the hot summer months.

SCM has a plan to help refugees living in Za’atari and our goal is $75,000 to do the following:

  1. Provide more water tanks for more families
  2. Help with the cost of filling those tanks on a regular basis
  3. Provide funds and/or supplies to perform maintenance and repairs on caravans
  4. Provide supplemental nutrition to make sure children are getting enough to stay healthy

Please donate today! Any amount helps – it could help buy a water tank or provide another week’s worth of water, or it could provide the supplies to repair a caravan with a crumbling roof or wall, or it could provide food for families that have to severely cut back.

Click here to donate any amount you can.

A combination of the ubiquitous UN tents and the portable boxes that are the caravans fill the

Please read these UNHCR articles about the situation as the camp turns 10 years old:

Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp: 10 facts at 10 years

Durable solutions required for Syrian refugees in Jordan as Za’atari camp turns 10