Month: July 2020

July 30, 2020

Hope in Hard Places: Offering Prayers for Syria

More than 6.2 million people are now internally displaced within Syria, and more than 5.6 million have fled to neighboring countries as refugees. Syrians desperately hope for peace. Their children shouldn’t have to grow up in a war zone or as refugees. Offer a prayer for Syria, whose people are enduring their 10th year of civil war and displacement.

Pray for life-saving assistance and newfound hope for Syrian refugees.

Syrian families have been uprooted from their homes by the fighting, displaced in their own country, or fleeing to neighboring countries for safety.

Many Syrians lived comfortable, middle-class lives before they left. But when families flee in the middle of bombings and other violence, they don’t have the luxury of taking all their possessions. They arrive at refugee camps lacking clothes, shoes, food, water, toiletries, blankets, and even their government-issued identification papers, which makes it even more challenging to get assistance. They have nothing to help them survive.

Pray for children’s protection.

Syrian children face many safety and wellness issues. They’re especially susceptible to malnutrition, dehydration, and diarrheal diseases. Because of the Syrian health system’s deterioration, many have not been immunized or kept current on vaccinations, and outbreaks of measles and polio have occurred both in Syria and in refugee camps. Due to the nature of living in chaotic, overcrowded, and unfamiliar situations, children also are more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Many children also must work, which leaves them open to other dangers. Without income, parents may marry their daughters off as young as 13.

Pray for education for the children of Syria.

Many refugee families can’t afford rent, let alone school fees, uniforms, and books. If lucky enough to attend school, child refugees often find it difficult to enroll and participate in classes not in their native language. Meanwhile, millions of children in Syria can’t attend class because schools are in ruins, teachers are missing or deceased, and security is a concern. The education of an entire generation of Syrians is at risk.

Pray that people worldwide will respond to this humanitarian crisis.

Now on its 10th year, the Syrian war and the chaos it has bred have become background noise to many people — even those who consider themselves compassionate. The consequences of the conflict keep many caring individuals at a comfortable distance. But there is an urgent need for donors to allocate funds to meet this humanitarian emergency, for people to raise a cry of prayer and support for people in desperate circumstances, and for all of us to find a way to engage meaningfully for the sake of Syrian children and their families.

We have no idea how hard it is for them to be living in tents yet refuse to give in to despair. What gives them hope is seeing people from all over the world caring enough to help.

July 23, 2020


As the COVID-19 global pandemic spreads across the globe, vulnerable populations including the world’s more than 70 million displaced people will be among the hardest hit. Economies and job markets are bearing enormous strain, with millions out of work amid shelter in place orders. Governments around the world are attempting to provide the necessary testing, tracing, and care to those suffering from the virus without sufficient resources or health care systems. Border restrictions and struggling supply chains mean it is harder to deliver aid to those who need it.

As countries struggle to keep up, underlying vulnerabilities among displaced populations in need are exacerbating the effects of the crisis. This year, the world is facing skyrocketing food insecurity, increased intensity of natural disasters, and underlying health issues especially among children.

Available funding is in no way sufficient. Without an end in sight, the ultimate scale and scope of the COVID-19 crisis is still unknown.

But one thing is certain: if we, people, do not step up now, the worst is yet to come. 

The consequences of large funding gaps will not surprise anyone: without needed resources, there will be exacerbated health problems and a delay in the delivery of lifesaving aid.

But there is a more important reason to act: there is a moral imperative in this time of need. Donors have traditionally understood the importance of such investments in an international response. The work that funding supports, from food assistance to medical care to livelihood programming to strengthening responses for children, is essential and saves lives.

We don’t know how far this crisis will escalate the vulnerabilities for populations worldwide. But we do know significant and urgent investment in international assistance is the right—and necessary—thing to do.

July 16, 2020


How can you ask homeless people to stay at home to avoid infection?

For people dependent on daily activities for their survival such as day laborers and those living in precarious or overcrowded settings, self-isolation and lockdowns are not realistic. In some places, hundreds of thousands—sometimes even millions—of people live in difficult and dangerous conditions, without any social safety net. It is crucial to provide people with the means to protect themselves and others.

SEMA US has expanded its healthcare programs in Lebanon, just in time to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 response primarily focuses on increasing access to healthcare for vulnerable communities including Syrian and Palestinian refugees, and will involve adapting medical activities in its own facilities, health promotion in the community, and supporting hospitals with their fight against the outbreak.

We are preparing our teams to receive cases in our facilities, in response to the emerging needs of the Lebanese population as well as the Syrian and Palestinian refugees or anyone else in Bekaa Valley. However, most patients with COVID-19 do not need hospitalization, which makes community intervention a vital element of any response in order to decrease the pressure on hospitals. SEMA US teams are conducting a series of intensive health awareness sessions about COVID-19 for vulnerable refugee communities. 

We still intend to keep most of our regular medical programs running by strengthening infection prevention and control measures. The non-COVID-19 medical needs of the communities cannot be ignored.

If medical care were to falter, then common childhood killers like measles, malaria, and diarrhea, would go untreated. It shouldn’t. Other essential services SEMA US provides, such as sexual and reproductive health care, psychological treatment, emergency room services, maternity and surgical wards, and treatment of patients living with communicable diseases remain operational. 

We are striving to find ways to keep doing as much of our lifesaving work as possible while adapting to the multiple and serious challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. You can help us make a greater impact by making a gift to SEMA US

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