Gisteren kregen we dit mailtje binnen van onze vriend Fadi Hallisso uit Beiroet. Zijn organisatie “Basmeh & Zeitouneh” voor Syrische vluchtelingen is in geldnood. Terwijl de nood stijgt verliezen de donoren en financiers de belangstelling voor Syrie. “Donormoeheid” heet dat. Vandaar zijn oproep om te helpen, en om het nieuws zoveel mogelijk te delen.
I am writing to ask for your help. The organization I helped establish in 2012, Basmeh & Zeitooneh, is facing a funding crisis. We need your support if we are to continue helping thousands of displaced Syrian families and children make a new start.
After four years of war that have shattered my country, donors have grown tired of Syria’s emergency. Funding and help have dried up. But the emergency remains. Millions are still in need, and there are thousands poised to help, if only we can secure the resources to continue our programs.
We need your support. Basmeh & Zeitooneh (it means “a smile and an olive”) was founded by a group of Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians, determined to help people whose lives and communities have been ravaged by war. I left my vocation in the priesthood to dedicate myself to helping Syrians in their time of need. Others made far greater sacrifices to assist our efforts.
Our staff represents every sect, geographical region and social class. We want to do much more than get them on their feet; we believe our work is empowering a new generation and paving the way for all of us together to build a new, collaborative Syria for all its citizens when this war ends.
Your donation will enable us to continue work at our community center in Shatilla Refugee Camp, where we have created a thriving hub of child care, schooling, job-training for women, integration programs for fighting-age men. Our community work targets Syrians as well as a previous generation of Palestinian refugees who are open-heartedly hosting them.
We run a school, a clinic, a women’s vocational training workshop that has spawned dozens of sustainable small businesses. We provide emergency health care and food assistance for the most needy, and a pathway to jobs and independence for the rest.
As a small organization that grew naturally out of the community of the displaced, we are nimble. When we see a new need, we begin to address it the same day. We have opened three other community centers in Beirut, Tripoli and the Bekaa Valley, and we have begun programs among the vast Syrian refugee community in southern Turkey.
Big funders might want to believe the emergency is over, but it’s not. And it’s not hopeless. There is plenty that you can do to help keep our vital work going:
• Donate though zoomaal.org
• Spread the word about us to our network
• Share the #ShatilaLive campaign, and the campaign’s main video
• Go to SyriaCampaign.org if you’re interested in the wider effort to keep the world’s attention on Syria.
We’d love to hear from you. We welcome any questions about our work or the communities we serve. You can write me directly, or learn more about us at our website. With your help and support, we will be able to continue our mission to serve the neediest Syrians today while building a better future for our community.