June 20, 2020

The people of Syria have endured civil war for nine years and many have fled to neighboring countries. The United Methodist Committee on Relief supports Syrians and other refugees in the Middle East by partnering with organizations like the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA).

In the Tripoli District of Lebanon, refugees often live in crowded quarters shared by several generations. Raham and his wife and their six children, one of 250 refugee households reached by the UMCOR-ANERA partnership, lived with his parents in his brother’s apartment. He could not find sufficient work to pay the rent he owed a past landlord, and his son was sick.

Rahim’s younger children in their new clothes, Syrian refugees sheltering in Tripoli, Lebanon. An UMCOR-American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) partnership created a cash assistance program to help the family. PHOTO: ANERA

The stress affected the whole family. Rahim said he and his wife had not been able to buy new clothes for their children in three years.

The assistance provided through ANERA allowed Rahim’s family to move to their own apartment, pay off debts, purchase new clothes and access a private hospital that was able to conduct the blood tests and diagnostics his son needed.

The World Refugee Day theme for 2020 is “Every Action Counts.” These small steps for Rahim’s family made a big difference in their lives.

“After receiving the financial assistance,” Rahim said, “my relationship with my wife and family got better. I personally feel more enabled. I do not want to keep receiving cash assistance, as I am sure that many families need the support I received, but this has definitely been the help I needed to keep moving forward, to stay hopeful.’’

The United Methodist Committee on Relief was founded in 1940 in response to the Methodist Church’s concern for the many vulnerable groups of people displaced by the fighting and destruction of World War II. Eighty years later, United Methodists continue to express their commitment to the rights and care of refugees around the world through UMCOR.

Take action to support refugees by praying for them; providing welcome in your local area; advocating for humane, predictable and transparent immigration policies; and giving to the Global Migration Advance (#3022144), which supports refugees and migrants of all types.