The Diakonia Department and the Ecumenical Relief Program
The preservation of Human Dignity has been and will remain a strategic objective of MECC since its founding in 1974, through social, humanitarian and development services programs. This program has evolved throughout the MECC historical process to include relief services for the forcibly displaced people and those uprooted, in all regions of the Middle East that have witnessed civil wars, armed conflicts, humanitarian disasters and occupations. The program is supported by several activities aimed at empowering those directly or indirectly affected, facilitating their livelihoods, and adapting to changing living conditions in a flexible and positive way. It also aimed to protect them and defend their rights and issues in all available platforms.
Moreover, the program is working with the MECC member churches, to develop their humanitarian and development services through various training programs for their human cadres in order to sustain these programs.
The MECC adoption of the various programs of Diakonia stems from the firm belief that Christ himself founded this service through his healing of physical and psychological diseases, and through the parables he gave about serving strangers, such as the Good Samaritan (Luke 10-30-37) and his similarity to the hungry, the sick, the prisoner and the naked (Matthew 25: 31-46). Jesus Called on every believer to serve his fellow with love and humility despite of any religious, social or ethnic background.
These constants of faith, which the MECC, with all its team, adheres to, serve as the cornerstone and code of ethical conduct that will make the Diakonia programs added value and living examples to follow.
Partnering with international and local partners, our program areas currently include:
· Relief and Development
· Justice, Peace and Human Rights/ Advocacy
· Migrants and Refugees
The training targeted 46 women; 21 women in Altal learned the basics of crocheting and making hand-crocheted accessories, while 25 women in Izra’a city learned the basics of crocheting and making handbags and baskets in different colors and sizes.
MECC launched a waste management campaign in Dara’a Al Balad and Ma’araba cities in Dara’a Governorate within it Cash for Work Program.
40 women from Aleppo and Dara’a governorates participated in a “Health Awareness Raising and Psychological Support” Training that was organized by MECC aiming at raising health awareness to as many persons as possible.
The MECC Diakonia Department concluded workshops on social cohesion for 30 Lebanese and Syrian students, at a ceremony held in the MECC Center in Tripoli on Tuesday, September 17, 2019.
The MECC team organized two summer schools for 400 primary school students affected by the Syrian crisis in Daraa al-Balad and Khirbet Ghazaleh of Daraa governorate.
The MECC team distributed hygiene kits to 800 returning families to Kafr Nasej in the northern rural of Daraa, as part of its ongoing relief program.
The MECC team conducted vocational training courses on the mobile maintenance, women hairdressing and cooking principles and basics for 50 participants from both men and women, in Tartous governorate. The courses lasted for two months and a half, and were followed-up delicately and continuously evaluated by the MECC team.
The MECC Diakonia Department organized an awareness course against sexual harassment as part of a program launched to fight Gender-based Violence. The three-days course was held at the “Our Lady Dispensary” of MECC in Sabityeh – Lebanon. It targeted Lebanese, Iraqi and Syrian children aged 6 to 12 years old.
The MECC Grants Program team conducted two advanced business start-up courses for 30 participants who passed the basic level of the course, at Al Zabadani City in Rural Damascus.
The Middle East Council of Churches represented by its director of “Diakonia” department Mr. Samer Laham attended the International consultation workshop from May 15 to 19, 2019, at the invitation of Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission “FELM” which celebrates the 160th anniversary of its founding.
MECC organized a crochet training course in Maaloula city in Rural Damascus. The course targeted 24 women who learned the basics of crocheting and making handbags in different colors and sizes. At the end of this two months’ course, every participant received a toolkit that will help her to start-up a small business.
Department “Diakonia” of the Middle East Council of Churches concluded a home elderly care course in the city of Tripoli in northern Lebanon, on Friday 24th of May 2019. This humanitarian program was carried out in cooperation with the LEAD Healthcare Consultancy and concluded by distribution of certificates and nursing kits to 22 women of different ages.
In cooperation with the Armenian Protestant Church, MECC implemented a Vocational Training Program in Aleppo aiming at supporting youth to enter the labor market. These courses targeted 200 young women and men between 18 and 45 years old.
Based on its belief that Education is the basis of peace and security in the world, MECC organized a remedial course for 50 students of the Grade 12 certificate in the city of Arbin in rural Damascus.
Believing in the need to help displaced and affected persons to secure a decent life for their families; MECC provided 37 financial grants to restore small businesses in Damascus and its rural areas.
MECC Health Program team implemented health awareness raising courses for 150 women in Bloudan, Al-Tal and Maloola in Rural Damascus, in addition to Ghabagheb and Izraa in Da’raa.
The MECC Health awareness Program continuing its courses for women in Al Noama village at Daraa governate. Topics covered the most common chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, breast cancer, osteoporosis and identified its causes and methods of treatment and prevention.
25 women attended the four-day course in which they were introduced to the healthy nutrition, first aid and pregnancy care basics, as well as the right methods to use blood pressure and diabetes measuring device. At the end of the course, every participant received a hygiene kit.
MECC distribution team helped 2823 families who returned to Dara’a Al Balad area in order to face one of the major challenges during the harsh winter season. The team distributed 5164 adult coats and 6400 winter clothing kits including shoes to children whose ages ranged between 5 to 18 years old.
MECC WASH team conducted rehabilitation activities of WASH facilities in Al Asieh and Al Hayat Schools in Damascus and Al Iman Private School in Aleppo aiming at securing a healthy and hygienic environment for students.
With the aim of supporting persons with disabilities to enter the labor market, the Middle East Council of Churches organized two vocational trainings in mobile maintenance and Cosmetology in Al Haffeh village in Rural Lattakia.
The Middle East Council of Churches organized a one-day exhibition in Al-Hafah village in the countryside of Latakia and Fayrouza village in the countryside of Homs to display products prepared by women who participated in a program in which the Council offered training courses on cooking, embroidery and crocheting for two months.
This is a project that includes psychosocial group counseling sessions for women and children, knitting sessions for women and community GBV awareness sessions for men and women.
Due to livelihoods depletion, increase of medicine prices; people in Syria are finding it more difficult to cover their health needs. Cancer patients are struggling to cover their treatment costs which, in many cases may either have their cancer treatment interrupted or even stopped.
This is a program that teaches Lebanese women living in the Akaar region how to harvest, prepare, and preserve various types of fruits, vegetables, and traditional Lebanese foods.
This is a program that provides cash assistance for 1000 families. The program surveyed 1300 families in the Mount Lebanon area.
This is a project, conducted in both the South and in Mount Lebanon areas, that is offered for vulnerable beneficiaries such as Syrian and Iraqi refugees as well as vulnerable Lebanese.
This project targets children who have never been to school or have been out of school for many years due to their refugee status.
This program, supported by many donors and MECC itself, provides affordable primary care and mental health services for vulnerable persons living in Mount Lebanon.
Home care is a livelihoods training course for both Lebanese and Syrian refugees. This high in-demand project utilizes professional teachers from the University of Balamand Faculty of Health Sciences and teaches participants skills
The Middle East Council of Churches is participating in the Third ACT Alliance Assembly in Uppsala –Sweden (28 October- 1 November), through its delegation headed by the Secretary-General, Dr. Souraya Bechealany, and the Director of Ecumenical Relief Service Samer Laham.