I recently had the unique opportunity to visit Jordan on a media trip. One of my objectives was to meet and write about refugees there. After the experience, I felt deeply compelled to do more than simply bear witness to their suffering. I wanted to help, but I didn’t know how. I’ve been listening to a lot of people—friends, family, co-workers—say the same thing about the refugee crisis. So my sister Carmen came up with a way for us to do that (she’s great like that!). We’re hoping it’s a way for you to help, too.
Politics aside, there’s no denying there are scores of decent people in need of help. I know because I met them. In Amman, I visited the Pontifical Mission, a Catholic organization that serves refugees, mostly Syrians and Iraqis, Christian and Muslim.
I met the dedicated director Ra’ed, the son of refugees himself. I met the women who help run the center, Amabel and Elisa, who are from the Philippines and have given decades of their lives to this place. I met brave, scared parents and their bright, beautiful children. The adults are educated, middle-class professionals, just like me. The kids are just like the ones who play with my little niece and nephews. These people have lost everything. They can never go home and they can’t stay in Jordan because they can’t legally work there. Their only chance is to get to the West and that’s a very slim chance.
Carmen contacted Norma, a director of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, which is based in New York City and operates through the Pontifical Mission in Amman. Carmen and Norma devised a direct, specific funding option for us: food and milk assistance. Administered with local partners and coordinated by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in Amman, food coupons and nursing formula and milk for children up to 3 years of age are provided to displaced families.
The families at the Pontifical Mission told me that they receive these food coupons, worth $50, once a month. Formula is distributed at the center.
Here are some facts about the center:
- It serves 2,082 refugee children (104 babies/newborns, 629 toddlers under 5).
- The program currently has ten mothers that are expecting, increasing the number of newborns and need for infant milk. Many mothers suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress (traumatized by experience) and are not healthy enough to breastfeed.
- There are currently more than 138 Iraqi families (about 450 individuals) on a waiting list, and your support could help these families receive much needed services.
Please forward this website to anyone who is looking for a way to help refugees!
Read my article here: Refugee crisis 'a battle for our humanity' in Jordan.