Diapers for Refugees Program Expands in Small But Important Way

March diaper distribution marks start of year two: In March more than $18,000 was transferred to our ministry partner in Iraq to begin year two of the Diapers for Refugees program. The first distribution of 160,000 diapers was conducted last year in March. The cost has remained stable over the last year and our cost for absorbent, high quality diapers made in Turkey is still right at 11 cents each. The same quality diaper purchased in the United States would cost more, and there would be the added shipping costs to Iraq.

The camps having caravans are the best equipped. Each family in Ashti 2 lives in a small caravan shaped like a boxcar except smaller, and sitting on cinder blocks.  A standard size mobile home in the United States is 90 feet long and 16 feet wide and 76 feet long. By contrast the largest caravans in the camps fortunate enough to have them are 21 feet long and 9 ft wide, or about 189 sq. ft. for an average family of four. That is not very much space and few families are fortunate enough to have that much.The program services about 300 displaced Christian families who live in official refugee camps such as Ashti 2. The distribution process is extremely orderly. Our ministry partner keeps a record of each family with infants registered at the camp by name, caravan number, number of children, home town, and previous number of diapers received.

As a result, there are cramped conditions in the camps which are extremely densely populated, and therefore the distributions must be done in an orderly way. It is very important that only the families in need of the diapers receive them.

Filling a real need:  One of the greatest needs for the women and teenage girls is feminine sanitary pads. As part of the Christmas for Refugees program last December, the family of every child who participated received hygiene materials. In these large, sturdy plastic bags filled with soaps, shampoos, disinfectants, laundry soaps and other supplies, there were feminine sanitary pads. Some of the women visibly cried when they saw what they were getting.

Our Iraqi partner requested funds for a three-month supply for 5,000 displaced Christian women located in several camps. This would have required 15,000 packets at a cost of about $1.00 per packet or $15,000. We just do not have the budget for that need at the current time. As a result, we sent the funds for feminine sanitary pads only to the mothers in the 300 families we are currently supplying with baby diapers.

Most ministries and aid organization focus on food, clothing, housing and items for survival but not those things that make survival under these conditions bearable.  The hygiene items also help to prevent outbreaks of disease in the densely crowded refugee camps.

Diaper distributions are scheduled for June, September and December. It is my sincere prayer that the funds for the entire year can be raised and set aside in the next thirty days. Having the funds for the year would allow us to once again concentrate on the Christmas program.

Please continue to pray with me for the Lord to guide us in the best use of our means to help the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.

Christians Celebrate Palm Sunday in Qaraqosh

Hundreds of Christians came together in Qaraqosh, Iraq to celebrate Palm Sunday for the first time in three years. They worshiped in a church that had been torched by Islamic State militants.

In October, Iraqi forces and the Christian militia pushed Islamic State militants out of Qaraqosh as part of a campaign to retake Mosul and the Nineveh Plain from the terror organization.

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

Reuters reported:

Hundreds arrived in cars from Erbil, the main city in autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan where most Christian had fled when Islamic State gave them an ultimatum to pay special taxes, convert or die.

“We need reconciliation,” Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Mosul Butrus Moshe told worshippers in the Immaculate Conception Church guarded by army jeeps.

Islamic State has targeted minority communities in both Iraq and Syria, setting churches on fire.

Scribbled “Islamic State” slogans could be still seen on the church’s walls while torn-up prayer books littered the floor.

Escorted by soldiers carrying rifles, the congregation then walked through Qaraqosh for Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week that culminates on Easter Sunday, holding up a banner saying “In times of war we bring peace.”

The number of Christians in Iraq drastically decreased after the US invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

ISIS Militants Disguised as Iraqi Police Slaughter 31 People

Islamic State militants posed as Iraqi police officers, slaughtering 31 people and wounded 40 in an attack in Tikrit in northern Iraq.

According to Ireland’s Independent.ie, the militants first targeted a police checkpoint and then the house of a police colonel who was the head of the counter-terrorism services. They later turned their fire on civilians in nearby shops.

When they ran out of ammunition, two of the Islamic State jihadists detonated suicide vests.

Reports state that the 10 jihadists gained entrance to the city by disguising themselves as Iraqi police officers and driving a police vehicle. It is believed that five of the militants survived and are in hiding.

Fourteen of the people killed in the attack were policemen, including the colonel who was killed with four other members of his family.

 

Congressman Chris Smith Bill On Genocide Advances From Committee

By: Frank York

The bipartisan Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act (H.R. 390), authored by Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), unanimously passed in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This legislation will help those who have suffered at the hands of ISIS—and hold perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes to account.

“ISIS has committed genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against Christians, Yezidis and other religious and ethnic minority communities in Iraq and Syria,” said Smith, who introduced similar legislation last Congress. “Many of them are now internally displaced or refugees and desperately need aid. Unless at least some humanitarian, stabilization and recovery assistance is intentionally directed to the survivors, many are them at risk of being forced to leave their ancient homelands forever. Some may even put their lives in the hands of human smugglers and attempt the deadly Mediterranean journey to Europe.”

[su_button url=”http:/refugeediaperhelp.org/”]Babies of Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing the Islamic State need diapers.[/su_button]

Since 2013, Smith has chaired nine Congressional hearings on atrocities in Iraq and Syria, including one entitled The ISIS Genocide Declaration: What Next? and another entitled Fulfilling the Humanitarian Imperative: Assisting Victims of ISIS Violence. Last December, Smith traveled to Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq to witness first-hand the plight of genocide survivors and see the humanitarian assistance the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil is providing with support from organizations like the Knights of Columbus to more than 70,000 Christians—1/3 of Christians remaining in Iraq—who escaped ISIS.

H.R. 390, co-sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-18) along with 34 other Members, includes key provisions directing the U.S. Administration to:

  • Support entities that are effectively serving genocide survivors in-country, including faith-based entities;
  • Assess and address the humanitarian vulnerabilities, needs, and triggers that might force survivors to flee their homes;
  • Identify warning signs of deadly violence against genocide survivors and other vulnerable religious and ethnic communities in Iraq or Syria;
  • Support entities that are conducting criminal investigation into perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Iraq;
  • Recommend where to close gaps in U.S. law so that the American justice system can prosecute foreign perpetrators present in the U.S., as well as any Americans who commit such crimes;
  • Encourage foreign countries to add identifying information about suspected perpetrators  of such atrocity crimes in their security databases and security screening;

“Christians have lived in Iraq since the 1st century and only 250,000 remain, down from 500,000 in 2013, the year before ISIS began its campaign of genocide,” said Smith. “Yezidis have lived in Iraq since the 12th century and their population has dropped 20 to 30 percent from 2013. There are other ancient religious and ethnic minority groups targeted for crimes against humanity and war crimes that likewise need our attention and assistance if they are to survive in their home countries or at least the region. This bill will help ensure that survivors receive our aid and that perpetrators of crimes against them are held accountable.”

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