Refugee Support Update
As a parish we have been supporting Christian Iraqi refugees in Jordan through Parishes for Peace, and an update follows below.
Supporting Medical Needs
You may remember that we appealed last year for urgent funds to support a refugee (a father of two small boys), who had severe tonsilitis and severe joint pain, suspected rheumatic fever, and vitamin defiencies. He was in despair and had lost hope that he could ever be well again. The fund we collected totalled over £1,400. We are delighted to report that with our help for medical costs and treatment, he is now fully recovered, and the whole family hugely relieved.
We received a lovely message of thanks from Della, at Parishes for Peace, who coordinated the process:
'Huge gratitude to the parish...The act of generosity and care on your part meant everything to him and to the family. No longer isolated and battling alone, but knowing you were there for him and for them all...they were so happy, simply overjoyed.'
With the remainder of this fund collected, we have subsequently supported and funded other urgent medical needs for refugees in Madaba as follows:
- towards medical costs to save the foot of a diabetic man at serious risk of amputation
- medical costs for diagnostic tests where cancer was suspected (and is now ruled out)
- medication for autoimmune hepatitis
- medication for chronic abdominal problems
- supplies of prescribed vitamins.
Those involved have been hugely relieved, appreciative and grateful for this support.
Madaba is not far from the Jordan river where John the Baptist ministered, and the parish church of St John the Baptist is a shrine and pilgrimage site; many refugee families have gathered in this community.
Supporting Children and Families
We sent further funds totalling over £700 collected from our Parish Soup lunches last year. This fund was used to support refugee families in Madaba as follows:
- winter jackets/coats for 25 primary school age children in most need this winter
- Christmas gathering with food for refugee families
- support for single mother with 3 special needs children
- vitamin supplies for children
- support for costs for bereaved family.
This support was deeply appreciated, and we received a beautiful message of thanks from the head teacher of the school involved:
'I am truly speechless and can not express my joy and gratitude to the wonderful people who made this Christmas a great, warm and happy one to the little hands in my school. The jackets were beautiful.....May God bless all in the Our Lady of Lourdes parish, Thames Ditton who made this possible....You can't imagine the kids happiness - their smiles were priceless. On behalf of all the parents and kids thanks you - may the new year bring you joy and blessings.'
A further £300 was raised at Christmas events last year, which was distributed for basic needs among the refugee families at Ashrafiyeh (just outside Amman) at Easter. This was part of the Beautiful Woman project, which aims to provide women and families with toiletries and pharmaceutical essentials - this assistance was deeply appreciated by the families. Our Parish Soup lunch group signed Easter greetings cards (made by Sr Marie) for the families, and we sent individually signed cards to every refugee family in Ashrafiyeh - these were also greatly appreciated. This year a further £200 has been raised, which is great news, and this will be distributed soon.
We also sold jewellery hand made by Iraqi refugees in Madaba, which raised over £75 for the families.
The legacy of our dental project continues and some further dental supplies were taken out to Jordan last year, with children in Madaba receiving dental hygiene training.
A project is also under way providing English lessons for a number of refugees in Madaba. We have been involved with support for the students, who are progressing very well, with a resulting rise in morale, focus and confidence.
In addition to the above, we continue to try to help advocate for the reuniting of refugee family members who have ended up dispersed in different countries, causing enormous distress. The current situation and ongoing limbo for these families remains very difficult.
Enormous thanks to you all so much for all your support, and for raising the funds above, both for medical needs and for children and families - as you can see it is hugely appreciated.
We continue to be in direct contact with families in Ashrafiyeh and Madaba. Our care and prayers mean so much and bring comfort to their hearts, and they pray for us as we do for them.
Our Parish Soup lunches continue to raise funds for the Christian Iraqi refugees in Jordan. During the year there will be further opportunities for support, and further updates will follow. In the meantime, please contact the Parish Office for more details.