Field Notes from Helena

By Alice Seeley

Published On April 16, 2021

OLIVE TREE CENTER UPDATES

  • The Olive Tree Center remains open with art, piano, guitar, salon, gardening, and English language (beginner, intermediate grammar & conversation) classes.

  • Mahmoud, a Jordanian Muslim artist, started classes and is very popular; He teaches adults and children, and class attendance by Iraqi men has particularly increased.

  • Piano & guitar classes led by two Jordanian young men continue to positively impact children and adults alike. It is the very first time many of the refugees have been able to access the music class.

  • The Olive Tree Center continues to serve as a hub for relief operations (clothing, vitamin, & food coupon distributions).

  • Once the pandemic ends, American FRRME will host an “open house” Iraqi cultural event. This will be open to the community and invite members from Embassies, the international community, local businesses, and more. Attendees will enjoy a “taste of Iraqi culture.”  This will advance our efforts to ease community tension and divides, as well as facilitate strong and positive community relationships.

Garden Project

  • The garden at the Olive Tree Center continues to flourish and provide fresh produce to refugee families with Azad as the lead gardener. Azad and other Iraqi refugee men constructed a garden shed in order to keep maintenance/workshop tools and gardening supplies safely away from children. This project provides sustenance to the community as well as a way to empower Iraqi men to garden together and serve the community.

  • The “Youth gardening initiative” has taken off and Azad is not only gardening but imparting his gardening skills and knowledge to youth in the community starting with his son, Andi. This provides an outlet for some of the teens outside during COVID.

Mask Making Project

  • The Mask Making & Sewing Project led by refugee sisters, Leka and Ashwak, in Madaba, continues to thrive and provide vital support to the refugee communities.

  • As the project expands, two other refugee women have taken active roles in leadership roles.

  • All have AFRRME provided sewing machines and are very excited to participate in the project! Two of the women have physical ailments and have been unable to get to the Center so having access to the AFRRME sewing machines in their homes has provided much joy throughout the limitations and difficulties of COVID.

  • This project has led to the creation of aprons, masks, potholders, baby clothes, and pillowcases, among other items. The provision of more sewing machines to the refugee women gives them a way to not only make essential items for themselves and their community but will ultimately help them secure a means to make money.

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PARTNERSHIP UPDATES

 Nazarene Church, Pastor Zaki

  • Through the Nazarene Church partnership, American FRRME continues to support the Youth Empowerment & Trauma healing Center along with refugee food package assistance.

  • Though there have been adjustments to the center, the refugee community still has access to classes (English language, IT, woodworking, sewing/knitting) with strict adherence to small class sizes.

  • Due to COVID and all of the restrictions, Pastor Zaki’s ministry has had to temporarily stop the work in Mafraq (outreach to Syrian Muslim refugees living outside of Zataari camp). He hopes to resume these efforts in the future.

  • Pastor Zaki continues to minister to the sick, elderly, poor Jordanians, along with the Iraqi refugee community. He is very active and engaged and has continued online church services & support services throughout the pandemic even without the church physically being able to hold services.
     

 Syrian Orthodox Church, Father Benjamin

  • Relief efforts continue to support over 500 Iraqi refugee families through food packages, medical assistance, rent, and immigration support, as well as regular home visits conducted to assess welfare and needs. The refugees we support have been hit very hard by the pandemic. They are living in the worst conditions in very cramped and difficult accommodations. American FRRME continues to reach this community through a combination of relief provided at the Syrian Orthodox Church and home visits to those unable to get to the church.
     

Assemblies of God Church, Madaba, Pastor Yoo

  • We continue to support the refugee community in Madaba and the 120 families who attend the Full Gospel Church with food coupons, transportation to church, youth group support, mask making, garden projects, support groups, and “empowerment” projects.

  • American FRRME continues to support the very active ministry of the Full Gospel Church through home visits to the community, rent support, medical support, and education assistance along with the wide range of programs offered at the Olive Tree Center.
     

Greek Catholic Church, Fuheis, Father Bolis

  • American FRRME continues to support the partnership at the Greek Catholic Church through the food coupon program and further development opportunities.

  • 250 refugee families receive food coupons to local grocery stores.

  • There is an exciting opportunity to open a second “Garden of Hope” in Fuheis on land owned by the Church. The land is currently unoccupied and is an ideal plot of land for the refugee community to engage in.

  • The establishment of a greenhouse could ensure the scale and impact of this garden and could fuel the refugee community with fresh fruit, produce, and olive oil (there are existing olive trees).
     

American FRRME- COVID-19 Relief Strategy Update:

  • Jordan is currently experiencing a surge in numbers and is at the peak of the second wave. Friday lockdowns, curfew, and Internet restrictions continue. Travel is still extremely difficult. A year into the pandemic, American FRRME’s mission remains a crucial facilitator of empowerment, growth, community outreach, and development opportunities. Our team continues to provide much-needed relief services to those we support. It is very much appreciated by the refugee communities American FRRME supports.

Field Notes from Helena

Olive Tree Center as a relief center during COVID-19

The Olive Tree Center (OTC) continues to serve as a safe and compliant base for relief operations. While its doors were closed as a Center, the OTC never stopped serving the refugee community. With strict adherence to social distancing and mask and gloves and in full compliance with the government rules and regulations, food coupon and package distributions, family support, mask making and gardening have flourished at the Center. Limiting the actual body count and maintaining proper safety measures has enabled us to still get essential support to the refugees in Madaba and to make use of the center while providing services.

Churches were legally allowed to open on Sunday, June 7th, with strict adherence to government rules. The masks American FRRME provides are vital to enabling refugees to get to church.

American FRRME COVID RELIEF STRATEGY UPDATE 

American FRRME successfully implemented the COVID relief plan despite the many government restrictions of movement, lockdowns, and curfew implementation.  Borders between towns reopened and internal travel with cars is now allowed. Helena Scott is able to travel directly to all American FRRME partnerships and refugee communities. Wellness Checks were performed by American FRRME to the most at-risk refugees throughout all the communities American FRRME supports, as soon as travel was allowed and restrictions lifted. American FRRME has remained fully compliant with government rules and regulations, wearing a mask and gloves whenever directly distributing relief.

 Partnership Updates 

 Nazarene Church – Pastor Zaki 

American FRRME continues throughout COVID to provide food packages and supplies to the refugees who attend the Nazarene Church, along with much-needed food packages and hygiene kits to some Syrian refugees in Mafraq.

Syrian Orthodox Church – Father Benjamin 

Relief efforts continued in June to reach the 583 families American FRRME supports via the Syrian Orthodox Church. Father Benjamin has not been able to be mobile due to recent surgery, so Helena Scott has been conducting home visits directly to families most in need.

 Assemblies of God Church In Madaba – Pastor Yoo

FRRME-A/FRRME support of the refugee community in Madaba and the 120 families who attend the Full Gospel Church was unwavering, food coupons provided as well as OTC offerings.

Greek Catholic Church In Fuheis – Father Bolis 

American FRRME continues to support the refugee families in Fuheis via the Greek Catholic Church. Now that the border is open and travel is allowed, providing relief and support has been much easier.

Proposed Initiatives 

Expansion of “garden of hope” to Full Gospel Church. The Garden of Hope initiative at the OTC has really taken off.   It has provided much-needed hope and growth, and will eventually provide food for the refugee community in Madaba. The Full Gospel Church has excess land where we could facilitate the expansion of these efforts. If American FRRME can fund the garden project at the Full Gospel Church we can expand the gardening efforts.

As American FRRME continues to make the shift from providing relief to creating more sustainable solutions, this gardening initiative perfectly reflects that shift–providing hope, help, and healing through gardening.

As soon as the OTC officially opens we can live stream traditional Iraqi cooking classes by refugees, to obtain donations from donors, host cooking classes, and give the diplomat and ex-pat community a “taste of Iraq” through delicious cooking.

Proposed “Open House” at OTC to launch reopening post-Corona 

To be safely planned and coordinated once the OTC can safely and legally reopen.

 Youth Project 

Additional funding for a youth project would be much appreciated. Children have been stuck in tiny apartments with their entire families. The need to do something special for the youth is very present.

As Jordan continues the reopening process, pools and waterparks may safely reopen at some point this summer. The airport is still closed, but travel within Jordan is much more accessible. As an organization, we are remaining vigilant and adhering to all safety measures during distributions. Society as a whole is struggling as people are still out of work. The need for support remains great and all communities are appreciative of what we are able to provide.

Mental Health services are needed now more than ever, and as the OTC awaits reopening, American FRRME has the chance to continue to make a significant impact.

Field Notes from Helena

American FRRME- COVID-19 Relief Strategy Update:

American FRRME has continued to implement all government-imposed criteria necessary to safely reopen The Olive Tree Center. This includes hand sanitizer being mounted on walls, regular cleaning, mask-wearing, regulation of class and center attendance, and social distancing implemented in all classes.

Olive Tree Center COVID-19 Update:

  • Due to the increased number of COVID-19 cases in Jordan, lockdowns and Internet restrictions have continued.

  • Complete lockdown started on Tuesday, November 10th, and will remain in place until determined by the government.

  • American FRRME is doing all we can to provide hope and mental health initiatives during this challenging time.

  • The Olive Tree Center’s ability to remain open has been instrumental and has provided much-needed support and hope.

  • Depression across the country is on the rise, and safely enabling refugees to get out of their very small accommodation and give them activities and classes to engage in has been invaluable.

Olive Tree Center Updates:

  • English language (conversation & grammar) beginner, intermediate and advanced, music and art classes continued throughout October. Helena Scott resumed conversational English classes post quarantine. Students are very happy with the new “ESL” (English as a second language) curriculum.

  • Guitar classes for children have expanded in order to keep class sizes small to comply to COVID-19  restrictions.

  • Piano classes have started and have become very popular.  Mahmoud Omar, a local artist, agreed to start weekly adult art classes. The community is very excited about the possibility of photography classes.

  • The OTC hosted cosmetology workshops for small and safe class sizes for the Iraqi women, led by Ibtisam, an Iraqi refugee with years of salon/beauty care experience. The refugee women asked for this class as they are eager to learn skills they can use for new jobs (most had their education disrupted) and they are interested in certificates for various trades. The workshop took place every Saturday throughout the month and will continue.

  • There is a high demand for computer skills classes. Refugees are very interested in learning basic computer skills such as typing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint, etc. This will equip them for a variety of jobs.

  • Helena Scott received donations from the US embassy this past month and distributed them at the Olive Tree Center.

 

 Olive Tree Center Workshops:

  • American FRRME currently supports a woodworking workshop at the Nazarene Church in Amman. The refugee men work on handicrafts such as crosses, trays, bowls, small vases, and other wood items.

  • Exercise classes have been established on the roof of the Olive Tree Center. Yoga teacher volunteers are ready to start once the lockdown is lifted.

  • American FRRME has a health initiative and provides fruit and healthy snacks at the Olive Tree Center.

  • Naseem, the son of artist Mahmoud, is a personal trainer and has volunteered to provide fitness classes for the youth.

Garden Project:

The garden continues to flourish and provides fresh produce to refugee families on a rotating basis every Friday. New autumn crops were planted and the garden is now producing garlic, green peppers, lettuce, sweet potatoes. The garden also has a large pomegranate tree, which is bearing fruit. Azad continues to lead this project and has been teaching his son and other refugee men his “green thumb” techniques. This project is instrumental in incorporating the refugee men into community life, providing much needed and appreciated skills and a sense of pride in their work and contribution to the community.

 

Partnership Updates:

Nazarene Church, Pastor Zaki

Via the Nazarene Church partnership, American FRRME continues to support the Youth Empowerment and Trauma Healing Center which reopened in September.
Adjustments to the operations of the Center have been made to ensure the safety of the church and refugee communities during COVID-19. Cooking classes now take place at homes with small numbers in attendance. Other classes continue (English language, IT, woodworking,  sewing/knitting) with strict adherence to small class size attendance.

Syrian Orthodox Church, Father Benjamin

Relief efforts continue to reach the Iraqi refugee families American FRRME supports via the Orthodox Church. This support is provided in the form of food packages, medical assistance when possible, immigration support, and welfare home visits while closely mitigating risk exposure to COVID19. Father Benjamin presided over the funeral of Abu San (a refugee who sadly passed away a few weeks ago.) As a  member of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Abu San, and his entire family were active members of the church community in Madaba and participants at the OTC. American FRRME had previously provided critical medical support to Abu San, but unfortunately, he passed away.


Assemblies of God Church, Madaba, Pastor Yoo

American FRRME continues to support the refugee community in Madaba with food coupons, transportation to church,  youth group support, mask making, garden projects, support groups, and “empowerment” projects. Unfortunately, in October, the refugee community in Madaba had two deaths, both from kidney failure. American FRRME provided family support to both families to help during these difficult times and extended the organization’s condolences and prayers. The families appreciate all American FRRME did to help them attain fair and accurate medical treatment despite the many obstacles.


Greek Catholic Church, Fuheis, Father Bolis

All other support to the Greek Catholic Church was cut off. American FRRME is currently the only charity supporting the Greek Catholic church in Fuheis.

Mask Making Project:

COVID-19 surged in Jordan this fall, and October saw a further increase in positive cases, as well as government restrictions. The ongoing mask-making project is much needed and appreciated. Masks are required by law to enter into any building, without which heavy fines are issued. The masks also enable the refugees to attend church, do their grocery shopping, and attend classes and so far have protected against the spread of the corona into the community in Madaba. In Hashem al Shamali, a poor area of Amman, the need for masks and education remains high.

 

OTC “American Thanksgiving”:

If lockdown allows, there is the possibility of hosting a small American Thanksgiving for the refugees to give them a taste of American culture.

Field Notes from Helena

American FRRME- COVID-19 Relief Strategy Update:

American FRRME has continued to implement all government-imposed criteria necessary to safely reopen Olive Tree Center. This includes hand sanitizer being mounted on walls, regular cleaning, mask-wearing, regulation of class and center attendance, and social distancing implemented in all classes.

 

Olive Tree Center as a Relief Hub During COVID-19 and Update:

  • Local churches remain open and the masks being produced at the Olive Tree Center are vital in order to enable refugees to go to church safely and in compliance with the government mandate.

  • Support groups at the Olive Tree Center continue online but, have started making the shift back to in-person small groups, as restrictions in Jordan ease.

  • Clothing distributions and support are still ongoing at the Olive Tree Center.

  • English language (conversation & grammar) beginner, intermediate and advanced, music and art classes resumed and provide a much-needed respite from COVID-19 restricted daily life.

  • Guitar classes for children commenced while being closely monitored and are held in small class sizes.

  • Cooking and sewing classes are still ongoing at the Center also with reduced size classes and highly regulated COVID-19 prevention tactics in place.
    Workshops at Olive Tree Center:

  • Upon the reopening of the Olive Tree Center on September 1st, the Olive Tree Center has continued to expand its offerings of workshops to benefit the mental health of the refugee community. There are future plans in place for the establishment of exercise classes on the roof of the Olive Tree Center that will enable the women to exercise in an environment that they feel comfortable in. Volunteer yoga instructors are ready to start in October after the two-week lockdown is lifted. In the beginning, this will be a reduced class size, for women only,  then we will be offering a men’s only class.
     

Garden Project:

The ‘Garden of Hope’ continues to provide fresh vegetables to supplement the refugees’ weekly food supply. Tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, chard, zucchini, and various herbs are the current staples provided weekly to rotating refugee families in the community. The garden continues to serve as a mental health initiative, providing a sense of accomplishment, exercise, and community spirit to all involved, particularly as a means to support the male refugees. Also, September marked the end of the growing season for certain vegetables, and newer seasonal crops are to be planted this October in their place.

Expansion of ‘Garden of Hope’ at Other Partnership Churches: When the OTC officially reopened on September 1st, we were able to live stream traditional Iraqi cooking classes by refugees and host cooking classes to obtain donations. This gave the diplomat and ex-pat communities a “taste of Iraq” through delicious cooking and a means to donate.

Youth Activities:

Trauma healing workshops and increased counseling services in the current environment of COVID-19 continue to provide much needed responsive and adaptive support, which has not only fueled the refugee communities physically but is providing mental health support, along with empowerment initiatives. Azad, the head gardener, and Riveen, the lead on the fundraising appeal, along with Leka leading the mask making efforts, are just three of many examples of American FRRME providing “hope, help, and healing”.

The need for this support remains great and all communities continue to be appreciative and have become more involved and excited as the efforts continue to grow and make a significant impact across the refugee communities.

Partnership Updates:

Nazarene Church; Pastor Zaki

American FRRME continues to provide food packages and supplies to the refugees who attend the Nazarene Church. We also send dire food packages and hygiene kits to Syrian refugees in Mafraq and to Jordanians in need.

Syrian Orthodox Church; Father Benjamin

Relief efforts continue to reach 583 families in the Syrian Orthodox Church, through the support of American FRRME.

Assemblies of God Church, Madaba; Pastor Yoo

In Madaba, 120 families attend the Full Gospel Church. These families are recipients of the support of American FRRME through food coupons, transportation to church services, garden projects, support groups, and empowerment projects.

Greek Catholic Church, Fuheis; Father Bolis

The Greek Catholic Church, in Fuheis, with aid from American FRRME, continues to support refugee families. There are currently 250 refugee families who receive food coupons from local grocery stores. This has been vital during Covid-19 when most people have been unable to work their “under the table” jobs that had previously helped them to buy food.

 

Proposed Initiatives:

  • The Proposed Establishment of the General David E. Greer Scholarship Fund. In loving memory of General Greer’s commitment to service and education, a tribute to his legacy would be an annual scholarship that would enable dedicated, hardworking Iraqi refugee students to attend school. This scholarship would enable students who do not have the opportunity to study, access to education. This was very important to General Greer’s vision of helping the refugees that American FRRME supports to empower themselves and improve their lives through learning.

  • After a discussion with American FRRME Executive Director, Susan Greer, an idea was proposed to provide trustees with “American FRRME” masks made by refugees for all board members at the annual December meeting in Washington, DC. Leka continues to lead the mask making initiative in Madaba. This operation has grown and now community members also take other items with sewing/stitching needs to Leka to mend. Having access to a sewing machine has enabled her to further support the community and her family as well as spearhead efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Possible creation of woodworking classes being held at the Olive Tree Center for continued involvement and the empowerment of refugee men.

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Summer 2020

Online support & learning/development platforms 

American FRRME continues to provide resume assistance, revision, and immigration assistance to refugees via email and phone.

Garden Project 

This “garden of hope” was created at the Olive Tree Center by refugees, for refugees. Throughout June this Garden was maintained, further cultivated, and really prospered: cucumbers, corn, beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, and tomatoes are now abundant. This garden provides the community with a sense of purpose, exercise, and a sense of contributing to the community.  Azad, the leader of the initiative, has really grown in his role as head gardener. He installed wire fencing to protect the garden from animals eating the vegetables.

 

Mask Making Project & Creation of “Olive Oil” Fund 

https://youtu.be/EDWvoCVtIXM

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Iraqi refugee Leka started this mask-making initiative. This project has produced over 500 masks for the refugee community in efforts to prevent COVID-19.  Masks are mandatory for all to attend church services and anything public which is why this project is a very significant help to the community.  American FRRME has provided material to Leka to produce extra masks to be provided to the Amman diplomat community which has a big need for masks. This enables diplomats to support the refugee community with a donation.

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Olive Tree Center as a relief center during COVID-19

The Olive Tree Center (OTC) continues to serve as a safe and compliant base for relief operations. While its doors were closed as a Center, the OTC never stopped serving the refugee community. With strict adherence to social distancing and mask and gloves and in full compliance with the government rules and regulations, food coupon and package distributions, family support, mask making and gardening have flourished at the Center. Limiting the actual body count and maintaining proper safety measures has enabled us to still get essential support to the refugees in Madaba and to make use of the center while providing services.

Churches were legally allowed to open on Sunday, June 7th, with strict adherence to government rules. The masks American FRRME provides are vital to enabling refugees to get to church.

American FRRME COVID RELIEF STRATEGY UPDATE 

American FRRME successfully implemented the COVID relief plan despite the many government restrictions of movement, lockdowns, and curfew implementation.  Borders between towns reopened and internal travel with cars is now allowed. Helena Scott is able to travel directly to all American FRRME partnerships and refugee communities. Wellness Checks were performed by American FRRME to the most at-risk refugees throughout all the communities American FRRME supports, as soon as travel was allowed and restrictions lifted. American FRRME has remained fully compliant with government rules and regulations, wearing a mask and gloves whenever directly distributing relief.

 Partnership Updates 

 Nazarene Church – Pastor Zaki 

American FRRME continues throughout COVID to provide food packages and supplies to the refugees who attend the Nazarene Church, along with much-needed food packages and hygiene kits to some Syrian refugees in Mafraq.

Syrian Orthodox Church – Father Benjamin 

Relief efforts continued in June to reach the 583 families American FRRME supports via the Syrian Orthodox Church. Father Benjamin has not been able to be mobile due to recent surgery, so Helena Scott has been conducting home visits directly to families most in need.

 Assemblies of God Church In Madaba – Pastor Yoo

FRRME-A/FRRME support of the refugee community in Madaba and the 120 families who attend the Full Gospel Church was unwavering, food coupons provided as well as OTC offerings.

Greek Catholic Church In Fuheis – Father Bolis 

American FRRME continues to support the refugee families in Fuheis via the Greek Catholic Church. Now that the border is open and travel is allowed, providing relief and support has been much easier.

Proposed Initiatives 

Expansion of “garden of hope” to Full Gospel Church. The Garden of Hope initiative at the OTC has really taken off.   It has provided much-needed hope and growth, and will eventually provide food for the refugee community in Madaba. The Full Gospel Church has excess land where we could facilitate the expansion of these efforts. If American FRRME can fund the garden project at the Full Gospel Church we can expand the gardening efforts.

As American FRRME continues to make the shift from providing relief to creating more sustainable solutions, this gardening initiative perfectly reflects that shift–providing hope, help, and healing through gardening.

As soon as the OTC officially opens we can live stream traditional Iraqi cooking classes by refugees, to obtain donations from donors, host cooking classes, and give the diplomat and ex-pat community a “taste of Iraq” through delicious cooking.

Proposed “Open House” at OTC to launch reopening post-Corona 

To be safely planned and coordinated once the OTC can safely and legally reopen.

 Youth Project 

Additional funding for a youth project would be much appreciated. Children have been stuck in tiny apartments with their entire families. The need to do something special for the youth is very present.

As Jordan continues the reopening process, pools and waterparks may safely reopen at some point this summer. The airport is still closed, but travel within Jordan is much more accessible. As an organization, we are remaining vigilant and adhering to all safety measures during distributions. Society as a whole is struggling as people are still out of work. The need for support remains great and all communities are appreciative of what we are able to provide.

Mental Health services are needed now more than ever, and as the OTC awaits reopening, American FRRME has the chance to continue to make a significant impact.

Field Notes from Helena

American FRRME- COVID-19 Relief Strategy Update:

  • There has been an increase in COVID-19 cases due to a new strain of the virus being detected in Jordan.

  • The quarantine period is no longer required for international travel as long as a negative PCR test is attained.

  • Friday lockdowns were lifted, but a nighttime curfew remains in place.

  • Gatherings of more than 20 are still banned and masks are still required in public places.

  • Despite the restrictions and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, American FRRME continues to operate safely.

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JORDAN RELIEF WORK OVERVIEW

  • January was an extremely busy yet productive month for American FRRME’s relief efforts. Not only did American FRRME continue all relief distributions and welfare checks across the refugee communities, but also significantly enhanced the community engagement of the refugees themselves in the work.

  • The content gathering for the Olive Tree Appeal utilized the refugees and gave them a platform to contribute further to the wider refugee community.

  • A grant application was submitted to the U.S. embassy in Amman. The grant is focused on expanding and enhancing the existing offerings and impact of the Olive Tree Center to include woodworking and a mosaic workspace.

OLIVE TREE CENTER UPDATES

  • The Olive Tree Center received a new piano donated by a donor which was received with great appreciation and enthusiasm!

  • Daniel, the piano teacher is thrilled to have a real piano to teach students, and now even more students are able to learn and participate in piano lessons.

  • The previously online “Hope Group” transitioned into a community outreach and support group. This group serves as the main volunteer support group at the Olive Tree Center and within the community.

  • These young women engage with the Madaba communities by demonstrating Christian compassion through small acts of kindness to community members, poor Jordanians, Syrian Muslim refugees, Syrian Christian refugees, the elderly, sick, and handicapped.

  • Helena Scott resumed teaching English conversation classes at the Olive Tree Center.

  • Art classes taught by painter Mahmoud have started. He is a Muslim Jordanian artist, and he has been very involved in supporting the Olive Tree Center, and the Olive Tree Center appeal. He is the first Muslim teacher at the Olive Tree Center and reflects the social cohesion and integration efforts; he is now a favorite teacher amongst the Iraqi Christians Madaba and has been extremely well-received.

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Garden Project
 

  • The garden at the Olive Tree Center continues to flourish and provide fresh produce to refugee families in Madaba. Winter has been tough, yet the garden continues to yield vegetables, most recently peppers.

  • Part of the garden is now a flower garden! The flowers are being planted by Abu Levan, a 67-year-old Iraqi refugee man. He is an experienced farmer and gardener and is excited to cultivate a flower garden!
     

Mask Making & Sewing Project
 

  • The mask-making project continues to thrive and expand!

  • American FRRME supplied Helena Scott with a vast array of fabric while in the U.S.

  • This project expanded with the new fabric provided by American FRRME into the sewing of items in addition to the masks for the community.

  • This fabric was used to sew baby blankets for newborn refugee babies, potholders, children’s masks, and aprons, among other items.

  • With additional fabric, the women hope to sew pajamas for the refugee children as an Easter gift.

 

PARTNERSHIP UPDATES
 

 Nazarene Church, Pastor Zaki

  • American FRRME continues to support the Nazarene Church via the Youth Empowerment and Trauma healing Center. This center reopened and provides a wood workshop, English classes, sewing, cooking, and IT classes to the refugee community alone. The center currently only serves 100 families as numbers had to be restricted during COVID-19.

  • The center is still providing art classes for the children and “therapeutic activities,” but currently does not have a counselor. Helena Scott is working to build a network of psychologists to support the Center at the Nazarene church, the Olive Tree Center in Madaba, and future Olive Tree Centers. Qualified counselors remain difficult to find in the country – there is an idea to establish online counseling opportunities with qualified counselors or social workers (Arabic speaking): stay tuned!
     

 Syrian Orthodox Church, Father Benjamin

  • Relief efforts continue to support the Iraqi refugees in this community via food packages, medical assistance, rent, and immigration support. As well as regular home visits conducted, check-in on welfare, and need assessments, while closely mitigating exposure to COVID-19.

  • Due to the spike in cases and Father Benjamin’s health risk, Helena Scott performed most of the home visits /welfare checks this month. The refugees American FRRME supports via the Syrian Orthodox Church remain some of the most at-risk/challenged.

  • Positive news: “Sander” the man who was kidnapped and placed in the hole in the ground, immigrated to Australia with his 7 kids!
     

Assemblies of God Church, Madaba, Pastor Yoo

  • American FRRME continues to support the refugee community in Madaba with food coupons, transportation to church, youth group support, mask making, garden projects, support groups, and “empowerment” projects

  • Pastor Yoo and Gloria provide much-needed support to the youth groups, and American FRRME supports these initiatives whenever possible, this month it was through the provision of buses and refreshments so that the youth could attend youth events at the church.

  • When it is safe to do so we would like to support a youth field trip or activity, COVID-19 has been particularly hard on the youth.

  • American FRRME supported the safe arrival of two refugee babies into the world. The families did not have funding to pay for the hospital fees without American FRRME support. They arrived safely and the mothers remain COVID-19 free.
     

Greek Catholic Church, Fuheis, Father Bolis

  • American FRRME continues to support the partnership at the Greek Catholic Church via the food coupon program and further development opportunities

Thank you once again and may God bless you and your family.

Faithfully,

 

Helena Scott,
Jordan Country Director