IN SYRIA, DARAA HAS BECOME THE NEW ALEPPO….

DARAA IS BURNING!

The current wave of attacks on Daraa is unprecedented, a barbaric onslaught by the Assad regime.  With barrel bombs, missiles and artillery, combined with intensive bombardment by Russian aircraft, enclaves (camps) in the city are being reduced to rubble.

Residents of neighborhoods, like Daraa Al Samoud Camp, Daraa Camp, the District of Al Manshiyeh, have fled their homes and taken to open fields.  Thousands of women and children are homeless with no shelter, little food and at the mercy of relentless attacks from rockets, mortar shelling, tanks and artillery.

Many of the areas under attack in Daraa were created after the 1967 war with Israel, populated by displaced Palestinians who are now Syrians and among the poorest class in Syria before the war.

BRIDGE OF PEACE SYRIA HAS BEEN CALLED TO HELP IN THIS CRISES

Bridge of Peace is now working with a South Syria Medical Team who is on call 24/7, rescuing and treating the injured and wounded with three ambulances and transporting patients to hospitals for further treatment.  Here is an eyewitness account from our team leader, E.M. Doctor Hussein Al Fnicker.

“For days of unprecedented shelling with all types of weapons, this has become the most barbaric assault on life with destruction of infrastructure since the beginning of the revolution.  Rocket launches from the ground stop only briefly when the helicopters have left the atmosphere only to return with more bombs.

Dora Dera Camp is a completely destroyed area that cannot be used as shelter for even a single family.  All civilians who remain are subject to bombardment without shelter.  We call upon all local councils and relief organizations for help in order to avoid massacres against civilians who are forced to remain.  Needed are life essentials, including emergency food, water and tents.”

THIS IS A CRISIS THAT NEEDS OUR HELP

Bridge of Peace Syria asks each and every one to respond to this urgent call for humanitarian help.  Please let your heart lead the way.  You can help save a life by making a secure on-line donation by clicking HERE.

Bridge of Peace School – A Path from Refugee Camp to Permanent Village

CHILDREN SHOOTING V SIGNThe Bridge of Peace School project is the third piece of a larger vision that will support small refugee camps in northern Syria. The first of these projects was the completion of a well water drinking system that has brought safe, clean drinking water to 1500 refugees at the Al Waleed Camp and has thereby enabled us to provide running water for the building of fourteen one-room houses and now the school.

Built at the convergence of three camps, Al Waleed, Sahl Algaab and Gorba Watan with a total population of 3,800 people, it will serve initially as an education hub for approximately 120 children to start, allowing for room to grow so that hundreds more children will later be able attend.

The school will be the first component of a much larger project that will eventually transform what are now a series of transient refugee camps into a more permanent community village as sadly, residents of these camps have no homes to return to. Future components of this vision could include rehabilitations of well water systems, the construction of a medical clinic and even private entrepreneurial ventures such as small shops.

The Bridge of Peace School will encompass 500 sq. Meters (5,303 sq. Ft.) that  includes four enclosed class rooms, a small administration room, an outdoor entertainment area equipped with benches for seating, and a public address system for performances.  In addition, a cemented playground area will be constructed and equipped with swings, jungle gyms, volleyball / basketball /soccer area and associated sports items.  Included is basic landscaping.  For security, the entire school will be surrounded by a perimeter fence made of cement with a main entry door.

Each classroom will initially be supplied with large dry erase boards, books, paper, notebooks, pens / pencils / erasers for older students and crayons, clay, craft paper, glue, scissors and other art supplies for the younger students.  There will also be a school computer and projector for educational purposes.  A small generator or solar system will be purchased to supply electricity for lighting and other low intensity electrical needs.

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION CREWThe Bridge of Peace School is being implemented in two phases, the first being the hard construction costs, wood stoves for heating, toilets, floor coverings, rent for the land and the equipping for educational and administrative needs.  The second phase includes the construction and equipping of the playground and entertainment area.

PHASE I:                                   $  6,090.00

PHASEII:                                   $  4,300.00

TOTAL COST:                        $10,390.00

Building a House to Make a Home at Al Waleed Refugee Camp, Syria

 

COMPLETED HOMESUPDATE:  THE PROJECT HAS BEEN COMPLETED WITH 14 NEW HOMES BUILT.

Al Waleed, like other refugee camps in northern Syria, are increasing in population as refugees continue to leave their cities throughout the country, fleeing from barrel bombs and Russian airstrikes.  The demand for shelter greatly out-paces the supply. TENT2 Many new arrivals live under make-shift tarps and suspended sheets of corrugated metal while others manage to cope with the elements in worn, ripped and dilapidated tents.

Al Waleed has literally doubled in population in just one year.  On December 10th, 2015 Bridge of Peace Syria successfully completed a Well Water Project that is now supplying the 1500 refugees with safe, clean drinking water.  Now, we are shifting our attention to the surging need for adequate housing.  Faced with the option of replacing old, worn out tents for a cost of $210 each we were recently presented with another option:  Why not build permanent structures, one room “Micro-Homes”, 4×5 meters that can house a family with up to 5 persons for nearly the same amount of money?  We were shocked to discover this was possible!  “YES”, was our answer.

MUDDINGWe learned that construction materials, sand, cement and bricks (concrete blocks), are amazingly inexpensive in Syria and for $250 that includes a stove with fuel, labor and transportation costs can pay for the building of a house that will withstand winds, torrential rains and blistering heat without wear on materials, such as the canvas of tents.  These houses will be built to last and last they must as sadly, the war and its prospective aftermath in Syria has no end in sight.ROOF

We immediately sent money to our project manager, Shareef Oubaid who got to work and has already completed two “Pilot Houses”.  Each house has a living space, a kitchen area with running water and a separate area for a toilet.   DOORHomes come STOVEequipped with a concrete floor, wooden door, a stove for heating,one small window and a corrugated metal roof.

One of our primary concerns was the selection process of how a family qualifies to receive a home.  What we discovered is that selections will be done through a decision-making process by members of Al Waleed’s governing committee along with the camp director and our project manager.  The poorest families, those in greatest need, will be chosen for occupancy.

OUR GOAL IS TO BUILD 14 HOMES

SHAREEFAn assessment done by Shareef, our project manager, calls for an immediate need of 14 more homes.  With the cold winter nearly upon them, the need of shelter for refugees, especially those with young children, is most urgent.  The cost of building these homes, including labor, will be $6,140.  FAMILYImagine the impact you can make in the lives of a Syrian refugee family for a relatively small amount of money; helping them stay warm and dry during the harshness of winter can be a life-saving gift.

If you can, by making a donation of $307 you can sponsor the building of an entire house or, a smaller amount that will pay for a building component.  Here is an itemized budget for the construction of a single home.

TOTAL CONSTRUCTION COST OF A SINGLE HOUSE: $307

  • $  80  450 Bricks (cinder blocks)
  • $  45  Cement and Sand
  • $  25  Door Steel Tubes and Fabric Panels for Roof
  • $  40  Stove for Heating and Cost of Fuel for One Month
  • $  10  Transportation of Materials
  • $  30  Worker Wages
  • $  50 Project Manager Fee                                                                                        $307 Total Cost Per House

AHMETBridge of Peace hopes you will open your heart in this New Year to families in the Al Waleed Refugee Camp and either donate the cost to build an entire home or sponsor the cost of a house component.  Your generous, tax-exempt donation can be made on-line by clicking HERE.    Or, you may send a check to:  Bridge of Peace Syria, PO Box 3133 Fayetteville, AR 72702 USA.

“You Don’t Miss Your Water Until Your Well Runs Dry…” Supplying 1500 refugees with safe water is the most beneficial project we have undertaken so far.

UPDATE:  The Water 4 Life Project in Al Waleed was successfully completed on December 10, 2015 and the water is flowing with 23 dual tap stands supplying 1500 refugees with safe, clean drinking water!

FullSizeRender (51)Imagine your life with little access to water.  This is the reality for nearly 1500 residents at the Al Walid Refugee Camp in northern Syria where there is a dangerous shortage of this life-giving resource-water.  The Al Walid refugee camp was established two years ago, 50 kilometers from the Turkish border.  It’s located on private land in a 25 year old olive grove that sits atop an abundant aquafer.  The well system that was used for irrigation of the olive grove broke down and, because of the war, was never repaired.

Rehabilitating the Old Well Will Provide Abundant Water                                            Up until now, residents of the camp were pooling what little monies they had to hire water trucks to make regular deliveries, providing each family with a meager supply of potable water for drinking, cooking, bathing and cleaning. FullSizeRender (50) As ISIS has cut off the fuel supply, the water trucks are no longer able to make deliveries.  Families have to search out any available water sources, potable or not, to try and meet a fraction of their daily needs.  As a result, the spread of disease and sickness is now on the rise.  An abundant, safe water supply for nearly 1500 refugees is critical to make life more livable and to prevent the spread of waterborne bacteria.

IMG_9576Bridge of Peace Syria has volunteered to take on the job of restoring the well!       Helping to build potable water systems is something Bridge of Peace knows how to do.  Beginning in 1987, we dedicated ourselves to building potable water systems in rural, war-torn communities in Nicaragua that served to drastically reduce the rate of infant mortality during the­­­­­­­ Contra War.  The situation of the refugees today in Al Walid is not too different.

With the cost of water at 1/4 cent per gallon per person, it is the most cost effective project that Bridge of Peace Syria has ever undertaken!

Just imagine, this gift of “Water for Life” that will satisfy the water needs for all the families at Al Walid Refugee Camp.FullSizeRender (52) In addition, there will be enough water to sell to neighboring camps, providing extra income so that Al Walid can operate and maintain its well and also fund other infrastructure needs of the camp.

As the world finally reaches out to assist Syrian refugees who flee to Europe for safety, here is an opportunity for you to help those that have been left behind in Syria, caught-up in the brutal war. 

Bridge of Peace Syria has already raised $2,800 that is earmarked for this project.  Together we can get clean water flowing again in the Al Walid Refugee Camp.  It is so easy to help!  Just click HERE to donate.IMG_9610

WATER FOR LIFE – BASIC PROJECT OUTLINE:                                                       1.     Clean the existing well of mud and debris.                                                               2.     Purchase and install electrical generator                                                                   3.     Purchase a heavy-duty water pump with flex pipe and install in well with crane                     to a depth of 185 meters (approximately 550 feet).                                                         4.     Purchase materials of stone and cement to construct holding tank (water reservoir)   5.      Dig ditch 130 yards long and lay galvanized pipe alongside main road for water                    distribution.                                                                                                               6.     Build 20 tap stands with faucets for access by residents to fill buckets and                           containers.

THE WATER FOR LIFE –  PROJECTED PROJECT COSTS:                        ·       Electrical Generator                                         $2,700                                             ·       Water Pump   (submersible)                              2,500                                                  ·       Flex Pipe, Tubes and Links                                  400                                            ·       Drilling and Installation Kits                                   250                                             ·       Crane Rental to sink Pump & Pipes                     250                                           ·       Cleaning of Well from Mud and Debris                 400                                       ·       Construction Material for Holding Tank                800                                                          (stone and cement)                                                                                                    ·       Fuel to Operate Electrical Generator                 1,400  (per year)                       ·       Galvanized Pipe for Water Delivery                   1,000                                         ·       Faucets and Fittings for Holding Tank                   300                                              ·       Tap Stands with Faucets for Water Distribution    500                                      ·       Specialist Contractor Fee                                       500                                       ·       Contract Labor                                                        500                                          ·       Project Manager Fee upon completion                   500                                             (overseer of project from start to finish)                                                                        TOTAL COSTS:                                             $12,000

12FullSizeRender (53)IMG_9579

 

Bridge of Peace Syria Supports Alwan Kindergarten

imageIn March, 2015 Bridge of Peace Syria Executive Director Hamsa Kurth Newmark along with her husband Moshe attended a three day all Syria conference in Washington, D.C. A recurrent theme was a strong emphasis on the need for education in Syria where a rapidly growing generation of children has never attended school.

In May of this year Hamsa began a dialog with Abdulkader Almurie, co-imagefounder and manager of the Alwan Kindergarten in Hass, Idlib Provence Syria, a school that services up to 120 students between the ages of 4-8 years old. In July, Bridge of Peace Syria began funding part of the schools’ operations and needs. This is a very exciting project for BOPS as it takes our humanitarian aid beyond the basics of feeding and clothing refugee children and invests efforts toward what we see will one day become  basis for a free Syria. Here is the mission of the Alwan (which means colors) Kindergarten:

“Alwan School is an educational establishment in Hass/Idlib, Syria. The imageschool serves as a center for both education and psychological support for children who have lived with war and who suffer its effects; to make them smile and see the world in a more beautiful way and with an open mind.

The priority given to education includes imageEnglish, Arabic, drawing, music, science mathematics and Quran. The teachers are university graduates who work as volunteers with no salary, just to make children happy.”

imageThe school teaches displaced children that come from neighboring villages, most having had to flee from northern Hamaa where they were bombed and shelled everyday from regime aircraft; approximately a dozen of them are martyr children or orphans.

In Abdullkader’s own words, here are more details about the Alwan Kindergarten.

“I, along with three of my university graduate friends, rented a building and paid for the first three months rent out of our own pockets. imageWe painted the walls with fun images for children, purchased some school supplies (pens, pencils, paper, crayons etc. ), some desks and boards were already there, and began the school with the hopes of finding a donor as I do not have another job and am unable to further support the school beyond the first three months.

imageThe school is in session four days a week, from Sunday through Wednesday from 8:00am – Noon. We organize the transportation of the children to and from school in order so they can attend and return home safely . Beside the lessons the children receive, they also have psychological class where two women teachers play games with the children, sing with them, imagedraw and try to see what is happening in their life, discussing how to turn their thinking from their bad life experience to a more positive view of life. This is the most important thing for these children.

We have a total of eight teachers, including two psychological teachers and as the manager of the school I am responsible for the teachers, lessons and plans, I also teach English when I am not too busy. I have daily meetings with the teachers where we talk about their needs and the problems they face and see how we can make the school better.”

imageBridge of Peace Syria is currently paying for the school’s monthly rent, some of the school supplies, water for the children to drink and for the transportation of the children to and from the school; we hope to expand funding to also supply them with expanded school supplies and a nourishing lunch for each child. We hope that you will support BOPS as we continue to help these refugee children. It is an investment in their future and in the building of a free society in Syria. bit.ly/BOPSyriaDonate                            Photos courtesy of Alwan School

The “Ramadan Kitchens ” of Atmeh and Moadamiyeh

There are two “Ramadan Kitchens” in Syria being served by Bridge of Peace Syria, one in Atmeh Refugee Camp and the other in Moadamiyeh.

Bridge of Peace Syria is helping to feed Syrian families most in need during this holy month of Ramadan.  The first location is at the Atmeh Refugee Camp, also known at the “Olive Tree” camp, located on Syria’s northern border with Turkey, north of Idlib.  imageIt was initially formed in 2011 by Sryians who failed to cross over to Turkey as the war began.  From hundreds of refugees then it has grown into a tent city with over 60,000 people who continue to flee from the violence that racks Syria.  Due to it being situated on the border with Turkey and Turkish air space the camp is relatively safe from Barrel bomb attacks by the Assad regime.  imageBridge of Peace Syria’s Tamer Altaiar and a crew of two others from neighboring Al Waleed Refugee Camp have been helping cook for hundreds of people daily, as they have joined a much larger effort of volunteers with the Syria Smile Makers Team.

imageThe second “Ramadan Kitchen” is in the City of Moadamiyeh, a suburb of Damascus that has been under siege since 2012, meaning that the city has been surrounded by regime soldiers who do not allow the flow of food, water, electricity and other life essentials to flow in or out; it is a city where people literally starve to death and malnourishment, especially with children, is common place.

imageThe recipients being fed by both kitchens are primarily martyred families, single mothers with children, and orphans with no parents at all.  In Atmeh,  Tamer and his crew join the others well before sunrise to begin preparations for the day’s cooking.  Using industrial-size metal pots imageplaced on individual large propane burners, they boil water and heat oil, but only after all of the ingredients have been gathered and prepared; the vegetables washed and cut, garlic peeled and sliced, rice and legumes cleaned and spices selected.  Then the cooking begins.  These huge “vats” of food stirred with large wooden sticks take hours to prepared.

imageOnce the cooking is finished, the children are already lined up at the entrance to the kitchen waiting to pick up the rations for their families.  The food has been carefully portioned onto plates, covered with Saran Wrap for protection and ready for distribution.

imageWith smiles on their faces, the children carry the meals to their tents to enjoy along with families after  long day’s fast.

In Moadamiyeh, hundreds of kilometers away, the council in the city has detailed records of families most in need living in the besieged areas.  These are the families that are martyred where one of the parents, usually the husband is either dead or in “detention”, which usually means torture or death.  These are the families that receive a hot meal or staple rations of rice, lentils, cooking oil, tea, sugar etc.  imageBecause there is no electricity or other cooking fuel, meals must be prepared on make-shift stoves using dry leaves, wood scraps or other burnables.

Our hearts go out to all the families we have been able to help, both in Atmeh and in Moadamiyeh who have suffered so much but are still able to carry on, hoping for a brighter future.  imageWith great appreciation we thank the Syria Smile Makers Team for setting up the kitchen in Atmeh and inviting Bridge of Pece Syria to participate with Tamer and his wonderful crew.  Likewise, we greatly appreciate the City Council of Moadamiyeh, especially our liason, imageDani Qappani for helping arrange our assistance to the families there.  In the spirit of Ramadan, Bridge of Peace Syria is very happy to be a part of the “Ramadan Kitchens”.image

DATELINE: MOADAMIYEH – Happiness was the order of the day

Bride of Peace Syria helps put smiles on childrens’s faces

IMG_5370Squeals of laughter, singing and dancing from 100 children, ages 4 to 6, was heard coming from the sweet little pre-school in Moademiyeh. And the name of the school “SHOMOOS ALGHAD” translates into this beautiful meaning “TOMORROW’S SUNS”. How very appropriate!moadamieyeh3

Like in so many other countries, the end of a school year usually ends with a big party. But the Moademiyeh School Management sure knows how to throw a fabulous party despite their limited resources. Moadamiyeh2Like a little miracle and with the help from parents and friends, a magical atmosphere was created for the children and to add a little extra, BRIDGE OF PEACE SYRIA donated some dresses, other costumes, crowns and art supplies and little gifts to add to the party F U N .

Families Rejoice At Receiving LIfe-Giving Food Parcels

Moadamiyeh5The following week, families in the besieged city of Moadamiyeh, who are in desparate need of food, received long awaited parcels sponsored by Bridge of Peace Syria.

SO WHAT WAS IN THE FOOD PARCELS?

  • Cooking oil
  • 5 kilos. of lentils
  • 5 kilos of rice
  • 5 kilos of sugar
  • Assorted canned food
  • 1 kilo of tea

FullSizeRender (24)A special heart-felt thank you goes to our coordinator in Moadamiyeh, Dani Al-Qappani who organized the procurement, distribution and the delivery to some of the most needy families.  This is a start, please help us continue with these food deliveries to the people of Moadamiyeh who are suffering greatly from the brutal, inhumane S I E G E imposed by the Assad regime since 2012.  For more information, please read previous article, Moadamiyeh, A City in Syria Under Siege.

UUEMost of those funds for Moadamiyeh came from donations of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eureka Springs, Arkansas; that hosted a Bridge of Peace Syria fundraising presentation.  Much love and big thanks for their generosity!  UUE1

Bridge of Peace Syria is dedicated to continue raising funds to feed families in this and other besieged cities by encouraging you to open your hearts for a gift of life.  You may donate on line at bit.ly/BOPSyriaDonate or, by sending a check to PO Box 3133 Fayetteville, Arkansas 72702 U.S.A.