To our faithful and generous supporters:
I want to thank you for your steadfast support of the work we are doing to bring hope, help and healing to so many desperate souls in the Middle East. Because of your generosity, we have been able to deliver much needed aid to our persecuted Christian brethren along with other religious refugees in Iraq and Jordan. Many have been marginalized, terrorized and forced to flee simply because of their faith. And most have no basic hygiene or even spare clothes.
Every year we offer aid and comfort to thousands fleeing their communities from oppressive regimes, wars and militants who hate their faith in Christ.
The crisis continues to raise alarms across many compassionate countries. And yet, sadly, the alarm does not rise to the level of making a difference in the most affected regions. The plight of our brethren is too often ignored by the media. But that does not mean that our brothers and sisters in Christ are forgotten.
This is where the American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East comes in. It is our mission to be a light in the darkness for those who have perhaps lost everything or who may be desperate for hope in a time of uncertainty.
There is not a day that goes by where I do not think of the freedoms we take for granted here in America and how so many others face death just because they love Jesus Christ or happen to live in a region torn apart by civil war.
It is through your generous investment in our shared mission that I find such encouragement and so many are able to find peace.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read our Impact Report. I hope to highlight for you the difference we are making together. I would welcome your partnership with us in saving the persecuted Church and for those in such great need.
May God bless you and keep you,
David E. Greer
It is our mission to provide relief, comfort and aid to the displaced and marginalized persons of the Middle East and to seek to effectively rebuild families and communities through advocacy efforts and ministerial programs that convey our service as an outgrowth of the love of Christ.
Over the years, we have been privileged to work alongside partners in the region who have all held a deep compassion and commitment to those struggling to find hope, help and healing.
From Baghdad to the Plain of Nineveh in Iraq, from Iraqi Kurdistan to Mt. Sinjar— wherever people have been persecuted for their beliefs, American FRRME is on the ground, providing food, clothing, shelter, education and more. Our teams can be found in UN camps, in churches, even in unfinished buildings, providing humanitarian assistance and hope to Christians and other religious minorities who have become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Middle East. We’ve fed and clothed tens of thousands and provided health care and education to those who’ve fallen through the system, and we work closely with St. George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad to help the poorest of the poor.
Our teams also partner with churches and other NGOs in Jordan and elsewhere, to provide assistance to Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have left everything behind and to help them to begin to rebuild their lives.
Our main goal, once again, is to bring hope,help and healing to those in need in the Middle East.
In March of 2011, the Arab Spring reached Syria. Pro-democracy protests that erupted across several largely Muslim countries found another authoritarian regime to target.The people of Syria demanded an end to the Bashar al-Assad rule.The result of this uprising also emboldened the reemergence of the so- called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at this time and led to the full-fledged Syrian civil war. At one point, ISIS controlled over a third of the territory of Syria and over 40% of Iraq.
As of March 2018, it was reported by a US-led coalition that 98% of the territory once held by ISIS had been recaptured. Still the fighting continues, most especially in Syria which has even seen a spike in violence towards the end of 2019 and into 2020.
A 2019 report commissioned by Jeremy Hunt, the British foreign secretary, highlighted the extent of global persecution of Christians, especially in the Middle East and North Africa where persecution has risen to the level of being characterized as genocide.
Extremist groups in Syria and Iraq have noted that the eradication of Christians from this region on “pain of ‘the sword’ or other violent means” is their objective.
Muslim extremists employ whatever measures they deem necessary to rid their lands of Christians and any other religions that will not submit to their particular sectarian rule. The main impact of the violence against Christians is exodus from their lifelong homes.
“In the Middle East the population of Christians used to be about 20 percent; now it’s 5 percent,” according to Hunt. It is now actually under 4 percent.
As of late 2019, well over 6 million Christians and other religious Iraqis and Syrians have been internally displaced, representing the largest refugee crisis in the world.
The scale and complexity of the humanitarian needs of this displaced population is staggering and challenging on all levels for the governments who have received them. And it is why the governments of Jordan, Iraq and others in the region have welcomed and been appreciative of NGOs and other compassionate non-profit organizations and ministries that provide assistance for this often overlooked or neglected refugee segment.
In October 2019, after extensive planning, we were excited to open the first Olive Tree Center in Madaba, Jordan. The purpose behind this center was to make a place of refuge and hope for those we serve. This community center serves mostly Iraqi Christian refugees and has provided aid, comfort and a sense of community to many families seeking a renewed direction or assistance with resources.
Helena Scott, our Jordan Country Director, has been instrumental in leading the efforts to coordinate essential services and programs that have brought a sense of stability for our displaced Christian brethren. Presently the center is serving nearly100 families and new families continue to come through every month.
According to Mike Simpson, CEO of FRRME-UK, many projects are initiated by the refugees themselves and have included crafts, music and cooking, for example.
“The different types of therapies that we provide for both adults and children has really impacted those suffering from traumatic experiences,” Scott noted.
The Olive Tree Center also offers English classes for the refugees and IT classes are also in the planning stages.
The Olive Tree Center 2020 operations cost – $30,000
Cost to build a 2nd Olive Tree Center in 2020 – $63,000
AFRRME visiting Iraqi refugees working in a mosaic workshop.
St. George’s Church in Baghdad, Iraq has a rich history. The current building was constructed in 1936 and served British soldiers stationed near Baghdad. But over time the condition of the church deteriorated until it was reopened after Saddam Hussein was ousted from power in 2003.
Today the church is led by Canon Faiz Jerjees, the first Iraqi to be ordained in the Anglican church, and serves a congregation of approximately 300.
But St. George’s is more than a church to this community in Baghdad. St. George’s provides food and rent support to those in need as well as a fully funded free medical clinic within the church grounds.
In addition to serving as a primary medical health care facility, the clinic provides for dental care, lab tests and offers prescription medicines.Local hospitals even refer patients to the clinic.
Mike brings three decades of third sector experience to the foundation. He previously worked for the Defense Medical Welfare Service, the only charity in the UK which is deployed to war zones (including Iraq and Afghanistan). Since 2017, Mike has been the public face of FRRME in several dimensions. His leadership for our unified UK-based partner has helped guide the organization’s impact in Iraq and Jordan.
Jordan Country Director
Helena coordinates relief efforts providing monthly food and rental assistance to 1,100 Iraqi Christian refugee families. Helena runs English language classes for refugees who have applied for asylum to Australia, New Zealand, and other welcoming English-speaking countries. Before joining American FRRME, Helena worked for her father’s law firm in Kabul and as Assistant to Said T. Jawad, Ambassador of Afghanistan to the
CANON FAIZ JERJEES
St. George’s Church and Clinic
Canon Faiz is the only native Iraqi ordained as an Anglican priest in Iraq and leads our refugee support and medical/dental clinic operations at St. George’s Church in Baghdad. He was honored as one of the country’s Distinguished Personalities of the Year for his role in supporting human rights work.
Nineveh SEED (Sustainable Enterprise Economic Development) is a unique initiative designed to help Iraqi Christians get back on their feet. It includes a range of programs to revitalize the local economy and create jobs in the Nineveh Plain. Working with local church and community leaders in the region, the American FRRME lends funding and expertise on projects such as deep-water wells and linked irrigation systems, greenhouses and other agricultural assistance.
Planting Seeds Is So Important
Temperatures in northern Iraq can reach highs in the 90s and 100s for a good portion of the year. The Greenhouses Project at Karamles will provide optimum conditions for the growing of vegetables, herbs and flowers. Right now, food and goods are being trucked into the Nineveh Plain from as far away as Turkey. This is not a reliable way for people to get their food. Planting in the greenhouses in Karamles began in October and harvests quickly followed proving the model and validating plans for additional greenhouses to help bring food and jobs to these underdeveloped and afflicted regions.
The Greenhouses Project
Other Empowering Projects
The Beekeeping Honey Production Project is a much-needed project and sustainable business model. The project supports families around Sinjar and the Maqloob Mountains to protect the beekeeping profession in the region. Working with two Christian and two Yazidi Families, this project allows beekeeping to be resumed in an area devastated by ISIS.
Another viable and important project within the Nineveh SEED program is an Olive Oil Soap Factory. This project has already experienced success on a small scale, but is in need of investment to fully function. The hope is to re-employ the ten local area residents who were employed there before the ISIS invasion.
We’re also excited about the possibilities for the Bulgar Wheat Factory. We hope to provide the factory with new machinery, vitally needed infrastructure improvements including water, electricity and flooring. This short project will set this business back on track to provide both employment and products to the local and national markets, profoundly benefiting the local economy.
Families in Karamles and Qaraqosh benefit from the Chicken Farm
“All these farms were destroyed by ISIS terrorist gangs. There are dozens of farms like this which need rehabilitation, from chicken farms to sheep breeding fields. Huge thanks to FRRME and to all their supporters and friends loyal to it… Thank you very much.”
-Ghanem Elias, of Al-Zhaitoun
The first Chicken Farm under the Nineveh SEED project was completed at the end of 2019 in Qaraqosh, Iraq. Before the ISIS invasion, Qaraqosh district was known for having a large number of chicken farms. It was known as ‘Chicken City’!
Since the defeat of ISIS in the area, many local people have started to return. Many are youth, actively seeking jobs. Others are previous business owners, seeking support to re-establish businesses.
Our project coordinators aided this Chicken Farm by helping to set up the buildings and provide the tools necessary to once again thrive. It now provides jobs for young people and has given a much-needed boost to the local economy.
Current Nineveh SEED project costs – $34,000
Projected costs for 6 new Nineveh SEED projects – $120,000
In most of the western world, the vast majority of children attend school from kindergarten through 12th grade. But not everyone in the world is this privileged. Out of the 7.1 million refugee children of school age, 3.7 million — more than half– do not have the opportunity to attend school. Only 63 percent of refugee children go to primary school, compared to 91 percent of non-refugee children.
The lack of schools is keenly felt by refugees, who often come from cultures that prize education. Pre-civil war, for example, the Syrian government worked hard to ensure free, public education for all and subsidized post-secondary education. The Syrian culture, as a whole, had a great appreciation for the arts. And in general, education is becoming much more available throughout the Middle East, with the number of college graduates increasing dramatically in the past decade. But where conflict erupts, the effects on countries with established educational systems can be devastating.
The situation is even bleaker as refugee children get older. Around the world, 84 percent of adolescents go to secondary school, while only 24 percent of refugee teens have this opportunity. As these young people get older, the barriers that prevent them from accessing learning become harder to overcome.
Refugees, like all people around the world, deserve an opportunity to be educated. Going to school gives refugee children a routine and a place of security despite the chaos around them. More importantly, it is the surest road to success after being displaced. An education gives refugees the chance to move on, rise above their circumstances, and rebuild their lives.
The American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East gives refugees this life-changing gift. In 2015, the foundation initiated an afternoon school for Christian refugees in the suburbs of Amman, Jordan, which has gone on to be recognized as a model school in the region. Since then, we have underwritten tuition for refugees attending private schools, provided books and other materials to schools in settlement camps, funded construction and provisioning of an all-girls school in a settlement camp, funded kindergarten and university expenses for refugee youth in Kurdistan, and taught English classes to both children and adults.
There is no question that the crisis within the Middle East is not getting any better. In fact, it is getting worse according to reports. We are therefore ambitious in seeking ways to continue to minister to those in desperate need on all levels.
The leadership of American FRRME has accordingly established the following goals:
Our mission is to provide relief, comfort and aid to the displaced and marginalized persons of the Middle East and to seek to effectively rebuild families and communities through advocacy efforts and ministerial programs that conveys our service as an outgrowth of the love of Christ.
Since our founding in 2009, we have devoted this organization to fulfilling our mission as outlined. It is hard work. Our team continues to grow, and all are committed to making a difference for these desperate souls caught in this crisis.
Thousands have benefited from our intervention and advocacy efforts. Families have been reunited. Lives have been saved.
None of this vital work would be possible without you, our faithful supporters, who continue to make sacrifices and have generously provided the resources necessary to bring hope, help and healing to our Christan brothers and sisters and so many others experiencing such grim hardship.