Diaper Delivery Set for This Month in Iraq

The need is greater than we can fill: I really wanted to expand the Diapers for Refugees program in 2017 but for now we are staying with our initial program of delivering 160,000 diapers every three months to Christian refugees families with infants in the Erbil area.

The program is filling the needs of about 300 families. Tight records are kept by our ministry partner. With the help of refugee camp leaders, a list is maintained of every family with a child needing diapers. On that list is the name of the parents; the name of the child or children; the age of the child or children; the village they came from; and the number of the caravan they have been assigned to live in.

I watched the process when I was there in December. Our diaper deliveries are conducted in March, June, September and December. Because of that schedule, I was present for diaper distribution while there for the Christmas for Refugees events held for the older children.

During one of my visits to a refugee center, I saw two young children dressed in red and white for Christmas carrying home diapers for their mother who is to the left behind them in the photo at right. Parents do their best to try to make Christmas normal for their children.

The families try hard and the men who are still with their families look for work every day or volunteer for ministry work. These are hardworking, caring Christian people. Given the chance the Christians of Iraq will rebuild as they have every time since 638 when Muslims first invaded and destroyed their homes and churches.

Women’s personal needs: One area I have wanted to expand the Diapers for Refugees program in was to help with women’s feminine pads. This is a taboo subject in the Middle East and as a result there is a great need.

As part of the Christmas for Refugees program the family of every child who participated received a large box or heavy plastic bag of hygiene materials in December. In with the soaps, shampoos, disinfectants, laundry soaps and other supplies were feminine pads. Some of the women visibly cried when they saw what they were getting.

At some point, funds permitting, I want to add feminine products as a part of the Diapers for Refugees program. This is just the second year of the program and we do not want to expand too fast, particularly in an unpredictable year of a brand-new presidency.

Please pray with me for the Lord to guide us how best to help the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.

Trump’s Revised Refugee Ban Doesn’t Prioritize Persecuted Christians

Christians wishing to flee the Middle East in search of asylum will not take first priority under the updated version of President Trump’s executive order on travel and refugees, which was signed Monday morning.

The new executive order does away with language about explicitly prioritizing religious minorities and loosens initial limits on who’s allowed to enter the US.

According to Christianity Today, “Current visa holders, refugees already granted asylum, and travelers from Iraq no longer face restrictions, and the indefinite ban on refugees from Syria was reduced to 120 days – same as the overall refugee population. The executive order goes into place next Thursday.”

Surveys have found that most self-identified white evangelicals approve of Trump’s temporary moratorium on refugees, but most evangelical leaders oppose it.

[su_button url=”http://diapersforrefugees.org/helping-christian-refugees/”]Babies of Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing the Islamic State need diapers – Please help![/su_button]

Tim Breene, CEO of World Relief, the evangelical refugee resettlement agency, said “The issuance of a new executive order on refugees and immigrants acknowledges that there were significant problems with the first executive order that caught up green card holders and others as they tried to enter the United States.” World Relief was forced to close five offices and lay off 140 employees after Trump’s decision to decrease America’s intake of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000.

Breene added: “However, this new executive order does not solve the root problems with the initial order—the cutting of refugee admissions by 55 percent and the inability for some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees to come to the United States. It is more of the same.”

Christianity Today reported:

“Trump’s new order considers “fear of persecution or torture” without explicitly calling out religious factors. The earlier one contained a provision to prioritize persecuted religious minorities once the refugee program resumed, and the president spoke in a TV interview about helping Christians in particular.

Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, raised concerns that religious minorities in the Middle East need refuge more than ever.

‘There’s a dire need for President Trump to issue a separate executive order—one specifically aimed to help ISIS genocide survivors in Iraq and Syria,’ she wrote. ‘For three years, the Christians, Yizidis and others of the smallest religious minorities have been targeted by ISIS with beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture and sexual enslavement …. The Christian community is now so shattered and vulnerable, without President Trump’s prompt leadership, the entire Iraqi Christian presence could soon be wiped out.’ …

‘How do we take care of our Christian sisters and brothers in Syria and Iraq? Have we stopped to ask them what that would look like?’ wrote executive director Jeremy Courtney following Trump’s first order. ‘I don’t mean just being a safe haven to run to when their churches and homes are destroyed by violence, but whether we as a nation are pursuing the policies and diplomacy that give them the greatest chance of surviving and flourishing where they are—so they don’t have to flee their homeland.’”

Iraq 101: Iraq who’s fighting who?

Everything You Need to Know About Iraq in Under 10 Minutes Recently returned from war-torn Iraq, Clarion’s Legal Analyst Jennifer Breedon explains in simple terms who is fighting whom and why.

The Diapers for Refugees program is preparing for the first diaper delivery of 2017 in March. The aim of the Diapers for Refugees program is to provide 160,000 disposable diapers every three months to displaced Christian families living in refugee camps.

These families have little-to-no access to soap and warm water to clean cloth diapers. Because of this, diseases spread quickly and families across these camps are dying from diaper rash and they need our help.

To find out more about the Diapers for Refugees program, click here.

Iraqi Christians Lose Faith in Trump

IMG_0749Many Iraqi minorities, Christians in particular, supported Donald Trump in his fight for the presidency, especially with his promises to put an end to ISIS and to make those suffering from genocide a priority. However, Trump’s recent executive order that banned immigration for 90 days from seven countries, including Iraq, has left many Iraqis wondering where Trump’s priorities lie.

Al-Monitor sat down with Iraqi Christians to find out their thoughts on the executive order. Rabie Patros Younis, a deacon and Christian community activist in al-Qosh, said: “To be honest, Iraq used to be full of Christians. After 2003, we Christians started to get the idea that we have no place in the region,” referring to the violence that hit religious minorities especially hard after the 2003 US-led invasion.

Younis continued on to say: “We’ve been waiting for someone to come change our reality. Since 2003, it’s only gotten worse… Trump was against extremism. Obama spoke against it, but in eight years, things only got worse. So Trump said he would change that.”

According to al-Monitor, many Iraqi Christians are questioning their support for Trump because the immigration ban leaves Christians in Iraq with one less place to seek out for safety.

“It was just hope. If we feel the situation changing for the better, then we can say, ‘Trump is the right person for the job.’ We’re waiting. Right now we don’t have trust in anybody.”

For another al-Qosh resident, Yosef Qasyanon, Trump’s executive order blocked his departure from Iraq just as he was about to join his family in the US. Qasyanon told al-Monitor: “I went through the visa process! I was hoping to go to America. The process was under the [Special Immigrant Visas for Iraqis] program. But everything has stopped now because of that order.”

Al-Monitor reported:

Qasyanon said that communities were becoming more ethnically segregated, noting that these days he only feels comfortable among fellow Christians from al-Qosh. Threats from jihadist groups like IS, tensions with neighbors, and land seizures in areas under Kurdish control have all contributed to the continuing sense of insecurity among his community.

Although Qasyanon appeared to approve of Trump’s aggressive attitude, his disappointment with Trump’s ban runs deep. “Trump makes things happen,” Qasyanon said, noting that Trump was keeping his promise to push through certain policies during his first days in office. “I had an application, I did an interview, and I had a visa. This isn’t just a ban on Muslims. This is a ban on everyone.”

Qasyanon was resigned when asked whether he would try to appeal his case for travel. He said there was nothing else to do except wait for a change in policy.

As for the Christian community across northern Iraq, Qasyanon remarked that their numbers were dropping precipitously on the Nineveh plain. “You know, we shrank from one and a half million in Iraq to no more than 300,000 now,” he asserted. “It was security that pushed them to go, despite the fact that they had houses, salaries, enough money to put in the bank.”

Qasyanon added, “If the security situation improved, the [Christians] would stay. But ever since Daesh [IS] came, everything has changed.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

While the Islamic State has been run out of the Nineveh Plain but Kurdish forces and Christian militia forces, these displaced Christians are returning to their homes to find their homes destroyed, churches vandalized and their personal items damaged or stolen.

There is a huge need for disposable diapers in these camps. The inability to wash reusable diapers, or old clothes used as diapers, had led to outbreaks of diseases and illness in children and families in the camps.When ISIS took control of the Nineveh Plain in 2014, Christians were given an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a tax, or die by the sword. Many Christians fled their homes taking absolutely nothing with them.

They were forced to leave behind the luxuries they had known and live in basements of abandoned buildings or modified storage containers that aren’t equipped to keep warm during the winter.

Nazarene_Pin_Ad_300pxThe Diapers for Refugees program started when William J. Murray, chairman of Religious Freedom Coalition, met with RFC’s Iraqi ministry partner and asked what the refugees were in most need of. The ministry partner explained how desperately mothers needed diapers for their families. In March of 2016, the Diapers for Refugees program made its first delivery of 160,000 diapers to displaced Christian families. In December 2016, the Diapers for Refugees program reached our goal of delivering 640,000 high quality disposable diapers to Christian families in need. 

For every donation given in February, you will receive a free Nun pin as a gift. Thank you for your support. 

To find out more about the Diapers for Refugees program, click here.

December 2016 Delivery

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Two children pose with diapers given to their family.

In December, the Diapers for Refugees program delivered 160,000 more high-quality disposable diapers to the Ashti 2 refugee camp in Ankawa, Iraq. This marked the final delivery for 2016.

Earlier in 2016, the Diapers for Refugee program set a goal of delivering 640,000 diapers to Christian refugee families that have been ignored by the Islamic-run charities in the Middle East. Through your donations, the program successfully reached its goal.

In each delivery for March, June, September and December, 160,000 high quality diapers were distributed to Iraqi Christian refugee families, for a grand total of 6400,000. Disposable diapers are necessary because of the lack of facilities to clean cloth diapers in the camps. With prayer and help from Christians in the United States the program will continue in 2017.

While the Islamic State has been run out of the Nineveh Plain but Kurdish forces and Christian militia forces, these displaced Christians are returning to their homes to find their homes destroyed, churches vandalized and their personal items damaged or stolen.

William J. Murray stands outside a building in Qaraqosh that had been destroyed by IS militants.

William J. Murray stands outside a building in Qaraqosh that had been destroyed by IS militants.

When ISIS took control of the Nineveh Plain in 2014, Christians were given an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a tax, or die by the sword. Many Christians fled their homes taking absolutely nothing with them. They were forced to leave behind the luxuries they had known and live in basements of abandoned buildings or modified storage containers that aren’t equipped to keep warm during the winter.

There is a huge need for disposable diapers in these camps. The inability to wash reusable diapers, or old clothes used as diapers, had led to outbreaks of diseases and illness in children and families in the camps.

The Diapers for Refugees program started when William J. Murray, chairman of Religious Freedom Coalition, met with RFC’s Iraqi ministry partner and asked what the refugees were in most need of. The ministry partner explained how desperately mothers needed diapers for their families. In March of 2016, the Diapers for Refugees program made its first delivery of 160,000 diapers to displaced Christian families.

To find out more about the Diapers for Refugees program, click here.

Looking Ahead

photo-2016-10-09-8-23-56-pmChristians face greater oppression today than under Saddam Hussain. Christian families in areas of Iraq controlled by the Islamic State were forced to flee their homes with infants in their arms and unable to take anything of value with them. These Christians who fled the Nineveh Plain and Mosul have little hope of returning in the near future and need our help. 

While gifts of food and donated clothes are often adequate, the need for diapers has been largely unmet. Some mothers have used donated clothing in place of cloth diapers due to the extreme need. However, the lack of clean water and soap to wash these diapers has led to outbreaks of disease in babies and their families.

The first truckload of diapers in March 2016 gave nearly 300 families a large supply of diapers. The second distribution that took place in June delivered a shipment of 160,000 diapers of different sizes at seven different locations.

The Diapers for Refugees program kicked off its third delivery of 2016 in September. This shipment of diapers was delivered to displaced Christian families in the Ankawa-Erbil area, where we have several distribution sites. Just like the previous deliveries, the diapers were distributed to those with the greatest need. This month’s shipment was delayed due to Dhū al-Ḥijja, a Muslim holiday, causing a delay in the delivery. 

Our goal is to provide high quality disposable diapers to over 300 Christian refugee families every three months in areas where cloth diapers cannot be cleaned and reused.

Since the start of the program nine months ago, we have reached our goal of delivering 640,000 high quality diapers to displaced Christian families in the Middle East. Our 2017 commitment is another 640,000 diapers delivered to displaced Christian refugee families in Northern Iraq.

Currently the Diapers for Refugees program is delivering 160,000 diapers of five different sizes every three months although monthly deliveries are planned funds permitting. The cost of a single shipment is $18,000 or just 11 cents each. As the Diapers for Refugees program is aided at Christians who have been declared victims of genocide by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. All funds must be privately raised as officially the displaced Iraqi Christians are not considered refugees as long as they still reside in Iraq, even though they have been forced from their homes, have no jobs, and entire families live in single rooms or in tents.

The diaper program has been very uplifting because we are literally changing lives with the program. Babies who were in pain with rashes and open sores, or who had no diapers at all, can now play and sleep in clean safe diapers. The mothers know other Christians care about their families. We would like nothing better than to continue the Diapers for Refugees program and expand it to more displaced Christian families in Iraq. Learn how you can help.

 

Many Iraqi Christians Unable to Return Home for Christmas

Inside the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh, Iraq, on 30 October 2016. The town of Qaraqosh was freed by NPU (Nineveh Plain Unit) after two years of ISIS occupation. (Photo by Joseph Galanakis/NurPhoto) Posted with permission

Inside the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh, Iraq, on 30 October 2016. The town of Qaraqosh was freed by NPU (Nineveh Plain Unit) after two years of ISIS occupation. (Photo by Joseph Galanakis/NurPhoto) Posted with permission

Many Christian residents of towns surrounding Mosul that have been liberated from Islamic State’s control have started returning home only to find their homes booby-trapped, in ruins or uninhabitable.

In August of 2014, the Islamic State drove many religious minorities, including Christians and Yazidis from their homes in order to establish their caliphate. Since then, these religious minorities have been subjected to persecution and genocide at the hands of ISIS.

Thus far, the villages of Bashiqa, Bartella, Karamles, Qaraqosh and Tellisqof have been recently liberated from the Islamic State but the Nineveh Plains Units, the Christian militia; and Iraqi Special Forces, but many of the villages were left completely destroyed.

According to FoxNews.com: “In some towns, most of the infrastructure has been reduced to rubble; in others, dangerous chemical compounds have been dumped, polluting the ground. But what all the places have in common is that they are unsafe and nearly impossible for those who fled to return anytime soon.”

One Assyrian from Bashiqa told FoxNews.com, “It’s a catastrophe. We are hearing that the situation at Bashiqa ia terrible… [ISIS] has destroyed it all…. We hope to return with everyone here. God willing, we will return soon.”

An Assyrian from the Village of Karamles said: “Everything is damaged… Houses have been burned by fire. There’s no water, no anything. People will only return if there is some sort of promise of protection.”

Many homes in these villages were either burnt to the ground or looted when Islamic State militants abandoned them.

William Murray next to entrance of one of the modified containers used as an office. In some cases these are used as homes for refugees. This is a 20-foot model that is near completion. A 40-foot model is also being prepared.

William Murray next to entrance of one of the modified containers used as an office. In some cases these are used as homes for refugees. This is a 20-foot model that is near completion. A 40-foot model is also being prepared.

Robert Nicholson, the executive director of the Philos Project, told FoxNews.com: “The damage to these villages is hard to overstate. In one last act of vengeance, ISIS made sure that returning Assyrian families would find their homes and business shot full of holes, rigged with mines and utterly demolished.”

Nicholson, and many others, believe rebuilding the Nineveh Plain will take years.

Christians face greater oppression today than under Saddam Hussain. This is why Christians fled from Baghdad north to the Nineveh Plain and Kurdish areas. It is in these areas that our Diapers for Refugees and Christmas for Refugees program is operating. We are currently in the process of planning ways to expand our Christmas for Refugees program to incorporate other towns that have recently been liberated from the Islamic State’s control.

Religious Freedom Coalition sponsors two programs specifically for helping Christians facing persecution in the Middle East, specifically those who fled from the Nineveh Plain.

The Diapers for Refugees program aims to send 160,000 high quality disposable diapers to these Christian refugee families located in camps around Erbil every three months. Families in these camps are dying from diaper rash because of the inability to wash cloth diapers with soap and clean water. Due to the lack of diapers, mothers are forced to use donated clothing as diapers for their children, which still can’t be cleaned properly.

Christmas for Refugees program helps displaced Christians from Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon that are being ignored by Islamic run charities. In 2013, 2014, Christmas events that included hot meals were served to Christian refugee children in Jordan and Lebanon. In 2015 the program was expanded to Christian IDP’s (Internally Displaced Persons) in Iraq who fled the Islamic State as the city of Mosul and Christians villages nearby were overrun. Much of the Nineveh Plain was also stolen from Christian families who fled to the Kurdish areas in the northeast. In 2016 the number of children served will be increased.

Please pray for the Christmas program this year and the safety of the children.

September and October 2016 Diaper Delivery to Displaced Christian Families in Iraq

A group of women pose with their children after receiving their diaper supply.

A group of women pose with their children after receiving their diaper supply.

The Diapers for Refugees program kicked off its third delivery of the year a few weeks ago. This shipment of diapers was delivered to displaced Christian families in the Ankawa-Erbil area, where we have several distribution sites. Just like the previous deliveries, the diapers were distributed to those with the greatest need. This month’s shipment was delayed due to Dhū al-Ḥijja, a Muslim holiday, causing a delay in the delivery. 

A little girl stands with her diapers.

A little girl stands with her diapers.

Currently the Diapers for Refugees program is delivering 160,000 diapers of five different sizes every three months although monthly deliveries are planned funds permitting. The cost of a single shipment is $18,000 or just 11 cents each. As the Diapers for Refugees program is aided at Christians who have been declared victims of genocide by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. All funds must be privately raised as officially the displaced Iraqi Christians are not considered refugees as long as they still reside in Iraq, even though they have been forced from their homes, have no jobs, and entire families live in single rooms or in tents.

The diaper program has been very uplifting for me because we are literally changing lives with the program. Babies who were in pain with rashes and open sores, or who had no diapers at all, can now play and sleep in clean safe diapers. The mothers know other Christians care about their families. I would like nothing better than to continue the Diapers for Refugees program and expand it to more displaced Christian families in Iraq. Please pray with me that we will have funds for another shipment of diapers to families in Iraq in December. Learn how you can help.

 

Gearing up for September 2016 Delivery

Our Diapers for Refugees program is gearing up to deliver our third shipment of high quality disposable diapers to Christian refugee families in September. The aim of our program is to provide 160,000 disposable diapers every three months to Christian families who were forced to leave their Photo 19-03-16 8 45 28 AMhomes to avoid persecution from radical Islamic terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State.

These diapers are desperately needed because of the lack of soap and clean water in refugee camps, and as a result, children and their families are dying of diaper rash from the reuse of dirty cloth diapers. Each shipment of diapers helps over 300 Christian refugee families in Iraq.

These shipments are distributed by large truckloads to refugee centers and camps across northern Iraq. However, prices are volatile in war time situations and vary a great deal just based on which roads are open and the safest to use.  

The cost of a single shipment of diapers ranges from $18,000 to $20,000, or 11 cents per diaper. We have almost met our goal, but still need $8,000 more to send out the shipment next month. We need your continued prayers and support in order to help these families. Learn how you can help.

June, 2016 Diaper Delivery to Displaced Families In Iraq

By William J. Murray – Program Director

Our Diapers for Refugees project in Iraq conducted our second distribution of the year this month.  This shipment of diapers was  delivered to IDP Christians in the Ankawa – Erbil area in northern Iraq. As before, the diapers were distributed to those families with the greatest need. Ankawa is an almost 100% Christian city next to Erbil, the population of which has doubled since the fall of Mosul and the Nineveh Plains to the Islamic State. Most of the families live in single rooms not the mostly middle class homes they were driven from.

Diapers distributed to young Christian mothers at one of seven locations in northern Iraq. A total of 160,000 diapers were delivered

Diapers distributed to young Christian mothers at one of seven locations in northern Iraq. A total of 160,000 diapers were delivered

Pictured at right is distribution at Al Amal center in Ankawa.  Al-Amal Hope Center for the Displaced People of Nineveh is the official name of the building above. The several story structure was intended to be a hotel, but construction was stopped as the Islamic State came close to the city in 2014. The shell of the building is now used as a camp for displaced Christians who live on five different floors of the building.

During June in total there were 160,000 quality diapers of various sizes distributed to the displaced Christian families with infants and toddlers at seven different locations. Because of a lack of hot water and washing machines as well as an acute power shortage in the region cloth diapers for the time being are not a good option. 

Al-Amal is one of the locations where our Christmas programs were held for Christian children in 2015. We will once again host Christmas programs for as many as 2,000 children of displaced Christian families, mostly from the Nineveh Plains again this year. The Christmas programs bring hope to the single most persecuted group of people in the world today. 

One of many young women who received a very welcome supply of diapers.

One of many young women who received a very welcome supply of diapers.

The Diapers for Refugees Program is are currently distributing five different sizes. Many women receiving diapers expressed their thanks and said it was a blessing from the Lord to have them.

Currently the Diapers for Refugees program is delivery 160,000 diapers every three months although monthly deliveries are planned funds permitting. The cost of a single shipment is $18,000 or just 11 cents each. As the Diapers for Refugees program is aided at Christians who have been declared victims of genocide by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. All funds must be privately raised as officially the displaced Iraqi Christians are not considered refugees as long as they still reside in Iraq, even though they have been forced from their homes, have no jobs, and entire families live in single rooms or in tents.

The diaper program has been very uplifting for me because we are literally changing lives with the program. Babies who were in pain with rash and open sores, or who had no diapers at all, can now play and sleep in clean safe diapers. The mothers know other Christians care about their families. I would like nothing better than to continue the diapers for refugees program and expand it to more displaced Christian families in Iraq. Please pray with me that we will have funds for another shipment of diapers to families in Iraq in September. Learn how you can help.

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