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ADRA’s ongoing aid to Syrian refugees includes women’s clinic, school

ADRA’s ongoing aid to Syrian refugees includes women’s clinic, school

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency helped Syrian refugees with cash assistance for shelter in neighboring Jordan. Here, an ADRA worker dispenses funds in October. [photos courtesy ADRA International]

Agency helped hundreds of families with housing, winter clothing

June 11, 2013 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Ansel Oliver/ANN

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has offered assistance to hundreds of refugee families fleeing the ongoing conflict in Syria with a targeted focus on un-registered refugees, an agency official said.

Over the past year, ADRA has offered cash assistance to more than 100 families to help cover rent in neighboring Jordan, said Thierry Van Bignoot, ADRA’s director of emergency management.

The agency also partnered with the government of Germany to distribute winter clothing to some 3,500 families living in the Al Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq Governorate in Jordan.

For two years, refugees have fled Syria’s civil war, which has killed more than 70,000 people, according to the United Nations. More than 1.5 million people have fled, many to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Van Bignoot said ADRA estimates the number of refugees is higher because many have not registered.

“Some people are afraid to give their names for fear of retribution,” Van Bignoot said.

The agency last year partnered with ADRA Middle East North Africa and the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization to offer 100 Jordanian dinars (approximately US$140) each month for three months to unregistered families for lodging. Many are staying with designated host families, while some have found basement rooms or small apartments.

The assistance helped people such as Amara, who told local ADRA officials that she came to Jordan with her five children while her ex-husband remained in Syria with his new wife. With the extra cash, she was able to pay rent for an unfurnished and unheated apartment. She said she was also able to buy some necessary medication for her heart problems.

Another recipient was a man named Musa, who came to Jordan with his wife and six children. Their finances have been depleted after they sold the last of their gold jewelry they brought from home.

ADRA has identified other needs in the region and is now implementing a project to provide gynecological and obstetrical care to Syrian refugee women in West Bekaa, Lebanon. In Beirut, the agency is planning a school that would provide half-day classes to refugee children, who are without education. Another project proposes a mobile clinic in the Jordan Valley, an area where few nongovernmental organizations are involved.

“The needs are huge,” Van Bignoot said.

He estimated that more than 70 percent of refugees are women and children. Many men have stayed behind in Syria, he said.

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