27Nov2022

SCM Medical Missions

Contacts

3806 Whitman Ave N
Seattle WA 98103

info@scmmedicalmissions

+1 206-545-7307

Tag: Humanitarian aid

AfghanistanHumanitarian AidRefugees

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

Uncategorized

SCM is helping in Puerto Rico

As an organization that is dedicated to helping people affected by unrest and natural disaster, SCM could no longer stay on the sidelines as the people of Puerto Rico continued to suffer, months after hurricane Maria devastated much of their island. We want to help our fellow American citizens in any way we can, so we have volunteers in Puerto Rico providing humanitarian and medical aid where it is most needed. You can donate to help in Puerto Rico on our Donate page.

Our humanitarian volunteer is Rasha Abousalem, who led our educational programs in Greece in 2016. Dr. Peter Houck is our medical volunteer. We are helping them get supplies and supporting their efforts in Puerto Rico as much as we can.

We have had an update from Dr. Houck. He has been working in a hospital near San Juan, and while the hospital is up and running and treating people, it is running on generator power. He says the worry now is that the generators which are supposed to be for temporary emergency use will wear out and break down much sooner than they normally would due to their constant use as the main power supply for the hospital. Unfortunately SCM is not in a position to buy new industrial generators, but it does highlight the ongoing problems the people are facing on the island. We will be helping get some medications that are needed that he will distribute as we get them to him.

Rasha has sent us numerous photos and updates about what she has been doing since she has been there, and she is working with a local church group that has provided trucks and a bus to help with the distribution of food supplies she purchased. They purchased the following items for 100 families in the city of Yabucoa:

*20lb bag of rice
*Four (1 liter) water bottles
*One 6 pk can of beans
*Two boxes of milk
*Two cans of tuna
*One bag of bananas (2 hands)
*One family size bag of cereal
*One or Two pks of baby wipes

The next day, Rasha and her team visited 2 towns up and in the mountains, traveling by a rented Jeep. She says there have been a lot of landslides there, and still no power or water…. And no FEMA… only smaller groups, especially church volunteers who come primarily in the weekends. She will be doing one bigger distribution and a smaller one in 2 towns tomorrow. We will update you on that when we receive her report.

The photo gallery is of photos Rasha has sent us recently.

Humanitarian AidRefugeesSyria

A small, local step to ease international suffering from war, drought

Below is an article written for the Bellingham Herald by one of our volunteers who is now helping to raise money and recently held a clothing drive to benefit SCM’s refugee aid programs. Thank you for all you are doing Barbara!!


A small, local step to ease international suffering from war, drought

BHamHeraldarticle

I had the fortune to visit Syria in the 1990s and again in 2008. The very old country was full of the kindest people, there were antiquities everywhere one looked, and some of the wildest drivers! Today, Syria is in ruins. What happened? What is not mentioned is the drought that started in 2006 that has led to this devastating war. It has been called the worst in the past 900 years and absolutely worst these last 500 years.
EducationGreeceHumanitarian AidRefugeesUncategorizedUNHCR

#WorldHumanitarianDay

August 19 is World Humanitarian Day

“World Humanitarian Day is an annual reminder of the need to act to alleviate the suffering. It is also an occasion to honour the humanitarian workers and volunteers toiling on the frontlines of crises. I pay tribute to these dedicated women and men who brave danger to help others at far greater risk.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

SCM is grateful for all of those who have volunteered with us to provide aid to the Syrian refugees and others, on our medical missions and in the countless other ways you have helped. Without our volunteers, we would not be able to provide the aid we have been able to over the past several years in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and now Greece. Below is a letter from Rita Zawaideh, our President and CEO of SCM, about the situation in Greece.


on patrol

SCM Volunteers at Idomeni, walking among the tents to offer medical aid.

Continuing the record pace of arrivals in Greece in 2015, more Syrians and refugees from other countries in conflict fled from Turkey and got stuck at Greece’s northern border with Macedonia in Idomeni. The border crossing at Idomeni was supposed to be the gateway to Europe.  But in February, Macedonia sealed its border with Greece, leaving the refugees with little alternative but to wait and hope the border crossing would reopen so they could continue their journey north. The refugees camped out in the fields, in the cold February weather, hoping that the doors would re-open and the European countries would reconsider. As cold winter turned to spring, and finally the summer was almost upon them, the border remained closed.

The refugees stayed, hoping against hope that they would soon be able to continue on to countries like Germany to get on with their lives with the hope that some day, maybe one day off in the distant future, they could go home to their beloved Syria. But for now, their focus has been getting to safety where they could support their families and their children could go to school. We tried to tell them that the borders would not reopen and they needed to consider another plan. But what that would be is something that none of us knew.

The Greek government made a decision to clear the area around Idomeni of the refugee tents, and late one day in May the military with buses and started to round up the refugees. They took the refugees to vacant warehouses at several locations between Idomeni and Thessaloniki. This is where the new camps had been established. The refugees had no choice, they had to get on the busses, and many were not even given a chance to collect their meager belongings before being put on the bus.

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One of the new camps set up by the Greek government in an old hangar – they are using vacant warehouses and military hangars to house the refugees.

No one knew what the conditions were going to be like but hoped it would be better than sleeping on the dirt and outside in the cold and wind.  Some of the camps turned out to be ok, but not that great.  The conditions inside the warehouses where the tents were erected are noisy, and the floor is hard and unforgiving. There were portable toilets outside and some sinks for washing, but no place for cooking so they had to make do with the food the military distributed which consisted of water, pasta and bread.  We all know that the Greek government itself has no funds for helping the refugees, and they were not expecting that these hundred thousand plus people would be staying in Greece, but they had no choice.

The Greek government promised that they would help the refugees with their asylum applications and that volunteers from the UNHCR and other organization would come in and register them.  The UNHCR is stretched very thin as well, and the registration process is completely bogged down in Greece. The refugees are waiting, and keep asking when they can apply for asylum, and if they have already applied, how long will it take to get an answer and what is going on with their application.  The UNHCR volunteers don’t have any answers for them.

Once the Greek government cleared the border area at Idomeni and opened the new camps throughout northern Greece, we realized that the refugees would be staying for a while, rather than simply passing through. SCM changed it’s plan of operation from providing short term assistance services like emergency medical aid, to long term social services such as education, mother and baby care, programs for adults to help them adjust and prepare with language lessons, and more.

New classroom being built by SCM with the help of the refugees

New classroom being built by SCM with the help of the refugees

Rasha, one of our previous mission volunteers, said she would go to Greece and help set up programs to address some of these issues in the three camps that we are working in.  We now have schools set up to teach basic subjects to the children – math, Arabic grammar, etc, as well as classes to teach languages to the adults. They can now learn English, German, and Greek. This has given the refugees something to look forward to each day, and a sense of making some kind of progress, rather than just sitting and waiting for the next move by the governments and the UNHCR. The families are excited, and the children really want to go to class and learn.

Back at our main office in Seattle, we started collecting school supplies and Rasha was able to gather supplies in Greece as well, and she got the refugees involved in building the enclosure for the school room, desks and chairs for the school, and also helping with teaching.  If they were previously teachers in Syria we got them to come and help.  We wanted everyone to get involved, so depending on their skills, we had them come and use those skills to teach the children – anything that would help contribute to activating the minds of the children, and anyone who wants to learn. From agriculture, mechanics, sewing, jewelry making, etc.

Depression is an enormous problem among the refugees, and this is one way to help alleviate that. Losing hope for a future that does not include living in a tent, seeing no end to the misery in their home country, children who are as old as 11 who have never been to school in their young lives because of the war in Syria, and so much more are all contributors to depression amongst the refugees. We are doing our best to help them as much as we can. So we, as volunteers and a small NGO, have our work cut out for us to keep these people motivated, and give them some hope, by getting them educated so they will be prepared for the new world that is coming to them.

You can help us by volunteering to go on missions with us. But if you are not able to go, please help us keep working by donating to SCM by going to our Donate page:  http://www.scmmedicalmissions.org/donate/

We really need your help so we are able to keep helping the refugees.

Thank you,

~Rita

EducationGreeceHumanitarian AidRefugeesUncategorized

English classes for #refugees underway at Frakapor Camp

Our women and children program coordinator in Greece sent us an update about the English classes she was able to get started at the camp in Frakapor in northern Greece. She had over 60 adults show up for the adult session and will be working to split the group into smaller groups so the students can get more attention.

We had one of our talented volunteers in the Seattle area – Kay from The Crafty Arab – create some posters for the classroom to help with the learning process. Thank you Kay! We also received wooden desks from some volunteers that brought them from Germany. We will be using some and sharing the rest with another organization we are working closely with.

Without our volunteers, none of this would be possible! You can help support their efforts by donating today! We need to get more school supplies and food for the refugees.

Humanitarian AidRefugeesUncategorized

Information on Refugee Crisis

This is a link to a good information source about the refugee crisis in Greece and the humanitarian response.

Refugee Flows to Lesvos: Evolution of a Humanitarian Response