Moadamiyeh: A city in Syria under Siege

IMG_5021

 

IMG_5022

With barrel bombs, missile, artillery and sniper attacks from the Assad regime that have pounded the city of Moadamiyeh, a suburb of Damascus, life is unimaginably hard and dangerous.

IMG_5128In addition, in August of 2013, the regime attacked the city with Sarin gas, a lethal chemical weapon that killed innocent civilians, including children.IMG_5123

But, if that were not enough, the city has been under siege since 2012.  To besiege a city is a barbaric, ancient weapon of war, it is a way to starve the populous into submission. The method is to surround a city with armed checkpoints and not let anything or anyone either come in or go out of the city without authorization; no food, water, medical supplies, gas, fuel, electricity etc.  So, even though there is an abundance of food and supplies just minutes away from the besieged area, inside people are literally starving to death…such is the dire situation in Moadamiyeh.IMG_4743

We, at Bridge of Peace Syria, have been getting regular reports of the conditions in this city for nearly a year from a trusted source describing unbearable conditions, from children that are going hungry every day to freezing conditions in winter with no heat and the extreme scarcity of water and electricity. IMG_4733 We were recently made aware of a small pre-school that is only for  Martyr families – (those who have lost a father or mother) consisting of 150 children with 15 teachers.  IMG_5085The children receive cow’s milk daily but the ration is small because of its scarcity, all families in Moadamiyeh count on it to feed their hungry children.  There are ways to obtain food if there is money to pay for it….so we decided to get involved.IMG_5124

IMG_5086

IMG_5083 (1)Bridge of Peace Syria is now dedicating a portion of funds to help feed these children. We have just made funds available for the purchase of rice, vegetables, legumes and other staples that will begin to re-nourish these little ones, the most vulnerable who are suffering greatly from the war.  Below is a report from our person on the ground in Moadamiyeh describing the conditions in Moadamiyeh and the daily hardships of the people that live there.

MOADAMIYEH UNDER SIEGEIMG_5118

“Moadamiyeh has lost more than 80% of its infrastructure.. 30% of the buildings are completely destroyed.. The rest are partly destroyed, all because of shelling … No Gas, gasoline or benze ..No electricity since 2012.. No land phones since 2013 .. No regular water since 2012.. All official schools were partly or completely destroyed.  The population was more than 90,000 before the siege was imposed.. During the siege, it dramatically dropped to 12,000. After a fake truce, thousands returned to the city , the number became 44,000, this includes 15,000 children.IMG_4728

Everything was available , food i mean, after UN made it into Moadamiyeh on July 14th 2014, even though what they brought with them was not at all enough for 30,000 civilians at that time, but after a month of that date, the regime blocked the only way out/in preventing anyone from bringing anything with them, even a biscuit.  And, at the check points the shabeeha (armed militia that do Assad’s bidding) take every slightest thing that is with the people returning to Moadamiyeh. Since then,shops were closed because there was nothing left to sell.. And what is available food these days are cow or sheep milk, beans and some kinds of vegetables .. Very few people still have a little sugar, rice or other staples. IMG_5081 But the rest of people don’t have anything but herbs to feed their kids.  Currently, there are 2,600 families in urgent need, 1,700 are “Martyr” families and 900 are “detainee” families; last month four children died due to lack of medicine and malnutrition.”

As Bridge of Peace Syria extends its aid to these children in Moadamiyeh, just one of the many besieged cities in Syria, we ask you to open your hearts to them.  Please donate to this worthy cause so these children can eat. Please make a donation by clicking HERE.

BOP LOGO for blog

 

Help us Build a Tent School in Al Waleed Refugee Camp

Girl in TentAlmost two million Syrian refugees under the age of 18, have no access to education and risk becoming a lost generation; a growing generation of children who do not know how to read and write their own names.  There is urgency to re-establish schools in Syria as these children will be called upon to help re-build a free and democratic country.

As the war in Syria rages into its fifth year with no end in sight, it continues to devastate the lives of thousands of children daily, over 22,000 children have been killed and millions displaced.  To make a donation please click HERE.

Bridge of Peace SyriaChildren Holding up Food Pots

As we watched the catastrophe of this immense suffering unfold, my husband and I decided to transform our feelings of powerlessness into one of empowerment by getting involved.  We started a non-profit humanitarian aid organization, Bridge of Peace Syria, and we have successfully raised enough funds to provide material aid to children and their families living inside Syria and on the Turkish border that have been displaced, living in thin plastic tents with dirt floors and minimal sources of heat.

SYRIA#2Al Waleed Refugee Camp

This camp in northern Syria shelters 700 people, 300 children, 104 families living in 104 tents.  Over the last few months, to ward off the sub-freezing temperatures, we have delivered tons of urgently needed food, baby milk and baby clothes, hundreds of thick blankets, warm winter coats, hats, gloves, shoes and socks to all the children.  As Bridge of Peace Syria continues to provide these essentials, the urgency of building a school for these children is our next commitment….we need your help.

The Urgency of Educationunnamed (17)

The war has displaced tens of thousands of children between the ages of 5-10 years, children who have never seen the inside of a school or received any formal education.

Going to school brings a sense of normalcy back into the lives of traumatized children
Education fosters self-worth and helps build confidence in children
Education supports the growth of a civil society that fosters equality between men and women
Education creates opportunities that kindle healthy, economic growth, and in this case, the rebuilding of a Free Syria.
Why a “Tent” School

Because the regime in Syria targets schools and hospitals with barrel bomb air strikes, it is much safer to have non-permanent structures, such as tents, for the children to study in.  They are also more economical to purchase and easier to erect.

three girlsThe construction and operation of a tent school in the Al Waleed Refugee Camp will serve approximately 150 children between the ages of 5-10 years.  It will also serve as a pilot school project that can be replicated in other refugee camps.  Reaching our financial goal of $25,600 will allow us to purchase the tents, all materials, set-up the school and completely fund it for the first half year of operation.

The School will consist of three large tents with each tent having a divider to accommodate two classes per tent.  Plastic tarps, floor mats and rugs will be required to cover the dirt floors, wood stoves for heat in the cold months and large eraser boards are needed for each class.

unnamed (21)The Students will need desks and supplies including school books, notebooks, pencils, sharpeners, erasers, crayons and markers, back packs along with waterproof carrying bags.  We hope to equip the school with art and craft supplies, including paints, paper, pens, paint brushes, glue, scissors, knitting needles and yarn.  Play items will also be purchased for the very young children.  Snack food and bottled water will also be required on a daily basis.

The Teachers will need to be recruited and paid a stipend.  They will require teaching aids such as books, PC tablets and satellite internet subscriptions.

maher 2Special Counseling:  Traditionally in Syria, school is not in session during the summer months of July and August.  For this period of time we will recruit and pay a stipend to two people trained to counsel children suffering from P.T.S.D. to help them process their trauma caused by shelling, bomb attacks, and forced displacement.  Many children in Al Waleed Refugee Camp have suffered greatly because of family members killed by regimes airstrikes, detainment and torture.

The generation of Syrian Children who do not know how to read and write is growing

Most everyone by now is aware of the horrors faced by innocents in Syria, especially children who have lost their childhood and had their future stolen. The longer these children remain without an education, the more accessible they will be to fundamental beliefs that will limit their future and the constructive rebuilding of their country and the region.

Opening Your Heartdownload

Perhaps you have said to yourself, “I know it is horrible but what can I do?”  This project is a positive answer to that question.  We ask you to please open your heart and make a donation.  Your contribution will help children who have nowhere else to turn.  These children, as others, are our future…please consider your donation as an investment in our humanity!  Thank you.

BLOG BANNER Moshe & Hamsa at MIKEBridge of Peace Syria is an all-volunteer organization and 100% of your donations will go directly to support the children. It enables us to keep our expenses low and our projects cost-effective.  Hamsa and Moshe Newmark work in the U.S. as a team with our Syrian coordinator, Tamer Altaiar, who implements our projects both in Syria and on the Turkish border.

For more information please visit our Facebook page:  Bridge of Peace Syria.  If you wish to contact us directly please email  bridgeofpeacesyria@gmail.com.

 

Syrian Women and Children Matter!

11060261_367864756730397_1070289620256491368_nA very special party was given by Bridge Of Peace Syria at the Sham Association Center for Orphans and Families of Martyrs to honor the sacrifices they made and to bring a little joy into their lives. Food – Fun – Face Paintings and Special Gifts for All.
11099994_366855776831295_6283516843192368850_nEvery woman that was invited received a beautiful New Dress and each child walked away with their face painted and a little gift from the toy bag that was sent by BOPS board member, Jan Rosa Lee from England.

11075139_367864773397062_8750448602957433792_nThe Sham Association Center supports education and offers job opportunities for war widows.  Thirty two children regularly attend the Kindergarten and some of the mothers help with Arts and Crafts Projects. There is also a sewing room with four sewing machines where women can work and makes a little money to help feed their families. It’s a place of support and refuge.

11107365_366855746831298_1949623528627063228_nHonoring the women (mothers) is so important.  Because our primary focus has been on feeding and clothing children to help them through the cold winter months, their mothers often had to take a backseat, were overlooked or taken for granted, but not forgotten.  So, in a separated event, Bridge of Peace Syria staged a Special Party Event to honor the Women, especially the ones who lost their husbands because of Bomb Attacks, Fighting, Forced disappearances or Torture. Some of these women have part-time jobs in a small clothing factory in Antakya which helps feed their families.

11066535_367782420071964_4763072331697710675_nTamer invited 50 women and his team helped prepare a lovely festive environment with food and beverage and as a special gesture each women was supposed to be presented with a beautiful new dress. Well, as it turned out, word about the party spread fast and 150 women showed up. Quickly more food and beverages were purchased so there was enough for all. The party was a big success and 50 women walked away with a new dress.

Thank you to all who donated to help make this possible!  And thank you Tamer for your dedicated service to Syrian Women and Children in Need.  You are our hero😇

 

 

Knitters in the U.K. Are Loving the Children in Syria

unnamed (3)The “Caring Hands”, an established knitting group in the little village of Melbourne, Derbyshire that knits and donates their creations to many charities, is now putting their needles into action for Bridge of Peace Syria.  Board member, Jan Rosa Lee after being invited to make a presentation by ANGELAReverend Angela Plummer who organizes the group of 38 knitters, was pleased to meet the ladies behind the knitting needles.  Jan shared with them her photographs of the work she did in Reyhanli, Turkey with Tamer Altaiar, Director of Middle East Operations for Bridge of Peace Syria.  She also shared the work we do at the Al Waleed refugee camp inside Syria, especially our assistance to provide baby milk and clothing for the newly arrived infants.

unnamed (1)After that part of the presentation, in a lovely light-filled room overlooking a lake, or the “pool” as they call it, the ladies began chatting and knitting away.  The group, consisting of women between the ages of 50-90, began knitting heart-felt creations ranging from hats for premature infants and small teddy bears to beautiful cardigans and jumpers for babies and children of all ages.  EDNAJan said that one of her favorite ladies was 88 year old Edna whose sweet smile and generosity of donating ten pounds to help with the postage made the event extra special.

Before the afternoon was over, Jan shared her personal story about her connection to Syria and felt a very warm and caring response that was articulated by a presentation to her of beautiful flowers that were as bright and cheering as the two big bags of knitted gifts with more promised.

JAN FLOWERSThese hand-knitted “care packages” will soon be sent to Tamer for distribution that will be added to the delivery of urgently needed baby milk, food, fuel and other items to help children and families get through the rest of the winter.  “Caring Hands” ladies in the U.K. rock!

 

 

 

 

Pounds for Pounds: Help Children of Syria

JAN3 Jan Rosa Lee, Bridge of Peace Syria board member who lives in the UK and who recently returned from work on the ground in Turkey with Tamer, has come up with a great way to shed pounds and “give them” to Syrian refugee children who urgently need them.

This Lent period , the six weeks leading up to Easter,JAN4 she is asking everyone to pledge pounds (sterling), dollars, euro, krona etc. to Bridge of Peace Syria for every pound of body weight she loses. Jan calls it, “Getting Slim for Syria” as she engages in a restricted diet and periods of fasting. She reports that some folks are already pledging fixed amounts and others pledging by the number of pounds that she is able to lose. She hopes to lose 10-14 lbs. by Easter.

pound 4  pound1If you live in the UK please message Jan Rosa Lee on Facebook with your pledge or, donate online here and memo your gift as a “pound for pound” donation. At Easter time we will announce the results!  Thank you!

Food Boxes to Feed Hungry Children

BOXES2The need for food security in Syrian Refugee Camps is urgent.  So, Bridge of Peace Syria has created a Food Box Package designed to contain approximately 20 kilos (44 pounds) of food staples to help the women of families living in Al Waleed and other refugee encampments provide meals with basic nourishment.  BOXES1Each box contains most of what the average family needs for daily cooking including rice, bulgar, red and yellow lentils, sunflower oil, spaghetti, flour, potatoes, onions, sugar, spices and other assorted essentials.

BOXESThis pilot program will consist of approximately 55 boxes to start at a total cost $2,750 plus $150 for truck rental.  Many families in the refugee camps that we are in touch with have little or no access to enough food to keep their families fed and healthy.  Bridge of Peace Syria is a small N.G.O. that is able to service these smaller encampments that are either out of the way or are too dangerous for the UN or other large organizations to serve.  We ask that you be as generous as you can and donate in support of this worthwhile project to feed hungry refugee families inside Syria.  bit.ly/BOPSyriaDonate.

Also, we ask that you visit our Facebook page and invite your friends to LIKE us.  Please click HERE...  The world needs to hear more good news!

 

 

Baby Milk: Vital for the Survival of Infants

BABY1PLEASE JOIN OUR BABY MILK CAMPAIGN AT THE AL WALEED REFUGEE CAMP.
With all the new babies being born in Al Waleed Refugee Camp, Syria, infant formula plays a vital role in the survival and proper nourishment of the new arrivals. The hardships expecting mothers go through at giving birth in a cold tent with shelling, bombs falling and chaos all around them is unimaginable. BABY2Often because of stress, weakness and malnourishment, the mothers don’t produce enough milk to nurse their babies. Also, the birth weight of infants born in refugee camps often is dangerously low. Plus, to make sure the formula is prepared safely, bottled water is crucial.
BABY3One month supply of formula milk plus bottled water cost approx. $60.00 USD for one baby. To insureFOOD SAFETY for them, we need to raise $2,000 ASAP. Please help us:  bit.ly/BOPSyriaDonate

On behalf of the mothers and babies, we thank you wholeheartedly,
Hamsa Moshe Tamer Jan for Bridge of Peace Syria
To visit our Facebook page please click HERE.