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Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees
Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)
The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) has been a close partner of Global Ministries since its establishment. Headquartered in Beirut, the MECC plays an active role in conflict resolution, peace and community building, and bringing together Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches throughout the Middle East. MECC represents 90 percent of the indigenous Christians of the Middle East and is a fellowship of 27 member churches representing 12 to 15 million Christians from the Middle East and North Africa and from Algeria to Iran.
One of several programs administered by MECC is the Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees (DSPR). Established in the early 1950’s DSPR was organized to aid Palestinian refugees with their newly acquired status following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. DSPR advocates for Palestinians and works to improve the quality of life for the innumerable Palestinians who live in the refugee camps in Gaza, Jerusalem, the West Bank, Galilee, and also in Jordan and Lebanon.
The services of the DSPR aim at enabling people to better organize their lives so that they can live with dignity in spite of the various difficulties and constraints that seek to inhibit them from "normal" living. Over 70,000 Palestinians benefit from the health clinics in DSPR areas of operation, particularly in Gaza and Jordan. DSPR also provides vocational training in such subjects as carpentry, metal and aluminum works, secretarial studies, English, dressmaking, hairdressing, knitting and others. A long-time focus of DSPR has been the construction of cisterns in the many communities that have few or no dependable water sources.
DSPR touches the lives of hundreds through its efforts in the area of workshops and training sessions in matters pertaining to women’s issues, youth, the disabled, and the environment. There is kindergarten for the children of refugee women in Lebanon, and community infrastructure activities for building classrooms and community centers. DSPR also facilitates loans for educational and business purposes.
Specific objectives include support for the programming of:
NECCCRW Gaza, including health, education, employment opportunities and vocational training, community development, and individual rehabilitation
ICC West Bank, including small-scale physical infrastructure, water cisterns, youth and children's activities, and women's development
ICCI Nazareth, including village development, employment opportunities, community development and organization, rural village development, civil society development, women's development, assistance to abducted women, youth leadership, and vocational training
NECCRW Jordan, including health education, educational opportunities, community rehabilitation, child-welfare, and community development
- JCC Lebanon, including women’s vocational training, computer courses, and agricultural training.
Recent events in Lebanon have led to the loss of life and destruction of infrastructure which have exacerbated the plight of Palestinian refugees. It is hoped that dialogue and political negotiation will sustain a fragile peace. In the words of Dr. Bernard Sabella, Director of the MECC Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees, “We stress the need for the refugees to live their lives with dignity and not to lose hope for a better and more peaceful time.”
- A gift of $3000 could provide medical supplies for one of the Health Clinics serving refugees.
- A gift of $500 could support vocational training programs.
- A gift of $100 could help construct a cistern for families with no reliable and safe supply of water.
- A gift of $40 could help purchase supplies for workshops or for the kindergarten.