Thanks to your support, Open Doors is now working with local partners to provide 15,000 families with food parcels every month in Iraq.
More funding, along with improved logistics and distribution, means that our average monthly distribution of food parcels has risen from 10,000 in the first half of 2015, to some 15,000 per month from August. This means that you are providing about 75,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) each month with basic food necessities.
One Christian woman said “I feel like your organisation embraced us as IDPs right from the start. Thank you for that.”
Another, who fled from Qaraqosh, told us: “It would have been completely different without relief. When we first arrived in August 2014, we did not expect such great support.” She reported how the local people took care of them. “They would cook and also bring clothes, sometimes even new clothes with the tags still on them. Very quickly the support started to come from the churches who received support from various international organisations.”
And in a significant development, a small number of families have been able to return to their own villages on the Nineveh plain. Depending on the situation in their village, they also still receive support.
The food parcels include a good supply of staple ingredients and dried goods. But families still need to buy fresh fruit and vegetables in the market or at stalls in and around the refugee camps. The food parcels are provided through church leaders so that the support will be distributed evenly to the refugees. The size of the family is taken into account – with a very large family the ration may be doubled.
Open Doors is also working with local partners and churches, to help them become active in job creation or to help people find jobs.
“IDPs are starting to find income for themselves more and more,” reported our field experts. “Some find small jobs, others start businesses. As Open Doors, we support the start of businesses by providing micro loans through a local partner.”
In fact, the food distribution itself is providing jobs. In Erbil, for example, helping to prepare the parcels is generating an income for 86 IDP families.
We also provide hygiene baskets, vouchers for clothing, and support for medical expenses as well as supporting the churches in other ways, including vocational training and trauma care training as well as through distribution of Bibles, children’s bibles and other Christian materials. Over the past 10 months about 75 people have participated in Trauma Care Training.
Thank you for making this possible. But support is still needed. The UN has recently announced that 80 percent of frontline health services are shutdown because of a paralysing funding gap. In August 2015 the World Food Programme announced that the severe funding shortfall in Iraq is forcing them to cut the amount of aid.
And this is more than mere emergency relief. The long-term goal of Open Doors is to support the church in order to strengthen what remains. Our field experts report that the impact has made a huge difference to Iraq’s Christians.
“The churches would have been able to take care of them for a while, but they need organisations like ours to be able to care for their people long-term,” writes one Open Doors expert.
“Without this type of aid, a larger number of Christians might have left Iraq for good.”
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.