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Field Notes From Helena

March 3, 2021

 

American FRRME- COVID-19 Relief Strategy Update:

  • There has been an increase in COVID-19 cases due to a new strain of the virus being detected in Jordan.
  • The quarantine period is no longer required for international travel as long as a negative PCR test is attained.
  • Friday lockdowns were lifted, but a nighttime curfew remains in place.
  • Gatherings of more than 20 are still banned and masks are still required in public places.
  • Despite the restrictions and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, American FRRME continues to operate safely.

JORDAN RELIEF WORK OVERVIEW

  • January was an extremely busy yet productive month for American FRRME’s relief efforts. Not only did American FRRME continue all relief distributions and welfare checks across the refugee communities, but also significantly enhanced the community engagement of the refugees themselves in the work.

  • The content gathering for the Olive Tree Appeal utilized the refugees and gave them a platform to contribute further to the wider refugee community.
  • A grant application was submitted to the U.S. embassy in Amman. The grant is focused on expanding and enhancing the existing offerings and impact of the Olive Tree Center to include woodworking and a mosaic workspace.

OLIVE TREE CENTER UPDATES

  • The Olive Tree Center received a new piano donated by a donor which was received with great appreciation and enthusiasm!
  • Daniel, the piano teacher is thrilled to have a real piano to teach students, and now even more students are able to learn and participate in piano lessons.
  • The previously online “Hope Group” transitioned into a community outreach and support group. This group serves as the main volunteer support group at the Olive Tree Center and within the community.
  • These young women engage with the Madaba communities by demonstrating Christian compassion through small acts of kindness to community members, poor Jordanians, Syrian Muslim refugees, Syrian Christian refugees, the elderly, sick, and handicapped.
  • Helena Scott resumed teaching English conversation classes at the Olive Tree Center.
  • Art classes taught by painter Mahmoud have started. He is a Muslim Jordanian artist, and he has been very involved in supporting the Olive Tree Center, and the Olive Tree Center appeal. He is the first Muslim teacher at the Olive Tree Center and reflects the social cohesion and integration efforts; he is now a favorite teacher amongst the Iraqi Christians Madaba and has been extremely well-received.

Garden Project

  • The garden at the Olive Tree Center continues to flourish and provide fresh produce to refugee families in Madaba. Winter has been tough, yet the garden continues to yield vegetables, most recently peppers.
  • Part of the garden is now a flower garden! The flowers are being planted by Abu Levan, a 67-year-old Iraqi refugee man. He is an experienced farmer and gardener and is excited to cultivate a flower garden!

Mask Making & Sewing Project

  • The mask-making project continues to thrive and expand!
  • American FRRME supplied Helena Scott with a vast array of fabric while in the U.S.
  • This project expanded with the new fabric provided by American FRRME into the sewing of items in addition to the masks for the community.
  • This fabric was used to sew baby blankets for newborn refugee babies, potholders, children’s masks, and aprons, among other items.
  • With additional fabric, the women hope to sew pajamas for the refugee children as an Easter gift.

 

PARTNERSHIP UPDATES

 Nazarene Church, Pastor Zaki

  • American FRRME continues to support the Nazarene Church via the Youth Empowerment and Trauma healing Center. This center reopened and provides a wood workshop, English classes, sewing, cooking, and IT classes to the refugee community alone. The center currently only serves 100 families as numbers had to be restricted during COVID-19.
  • The center is still providing art classes for the children and “therapeutic activities,” but currently does not have a counselor. Helena Scott is working to build a network of psychologists to support the Center at the Nazarene church, the Olive Tree Center in Madaba, and future Olive Tree Centers. Qualified counselors remain difficult to find in the country – there is an idea to establish online counseling opportunities with qualified counselors or social workers (Arabic speaking): stay tuned!

 Syrian Orthodox Church, Father Benjamin

  • Relief efforts continue to support the Iraqi refugees in this community via food packages, medical assistance, rent, and immigration support. As well as regular home visits conducted, check-in on welfare, and need assessments, while closely mitigating exposure to COVID-19.
  • Due to the spike in cases and Father Benjamin’s health risk, Helena Scott performed most of the home visits /welfare checks this month. The refugees American FRRME supports via the Syrian Orthodox Church remain some of the most at-risk/challenged.
  • Positive news: “Sander” the man who was kidnapped and placed in the hole in the ground, immigrated to Australia with his 7 kids!

Assemblies of God Church, Madaba, Pastor Yoo

  • American FRRME continues to support the refugee community in Madaba with food coupons, transportation to church, youth group support, mask making, garden projects, support groups, and “empowerment” projects
  • Pastor Yoo and Gloria provide much-needed support to the youth groups, and American FRRME supports these initiatives whenever possible, this month it was through the provision of buses and refreshments so that the youth could attend youth events at the church.
  • When it is safe to do so we would like to support a youth field trip or activity, COVID-19 has been particularly hard on the youth.
  • American FRRME supported the safe arrival of two refugee babies into the world. The families did not have funding to pay for the hospital fees without American FRRME support. They arrived safely and the mothers remain COVID-19 free.

Greek Catholic Church, Fuheis, Father Bolis

  • American FRRME continues to support the partnership at the Greek Catholic Church via the food coupon program and further development opportunities

Thank you once again and may God bless you and your family.

Faithfully,

Helena Scott,
Jordan Country Director

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