Be Kind to Refugees - Winter 2016

$1,950 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 28 people in 3 months
Charmaine Craig  Abbotsford, BC
Dear Friends,
My name is Charmaine Craig and I am a 48-year-old grandmother of three from Abbotsford, British Columbia and I am passionate about helping our fellow human beings. I want my grandchildren to grow up in a world of where love and tolerance reign.  This starts by showing them a good example.

This past year I have been deeply involved with the refugee crisis. Last fall I went to Kos, Greece to help refugees fleeing war who were arriving on the shores of Greece with nothing but their courage and dreams for their children’s future. In the spring, I went back to Greece and then to Lebanon to see another side of the crisis. The Syrian refugees in Lebanon now number approximately 1.5 million, ¼ of Lebanon’s population. While many Syrians could arrive with savings and purchase apartments and start businesses in the cities there are many more who live in abject poverty in the rural valleys. Lebanon refused to let the UNHCR set up formal refugee camps so there are 1400 informal camp settlements located on farmer’s fields in the Beqaa valley. Each family must pay rent or provide labour to the farmer. My purpose on that trip was to work with a local NGO that provided schooling for the children living in the camps. I taught English classes. English is required in the Lebanese school system and is one of the many barriers the children have for registration. But by far the largest barrier to their education was the economic situation. The families, ¼ of them without a father, are placed in such desperate situations that they are forced to send their children to work. The amount of exploitation is astounding. It is estimated that 60 – 70% of Syrian refugee children are working.

Recently I was offered the opportunity that, I think, in time will help alleviate the poverty these families face. I have been in discussions with the grassroots NGO Salam LADC. This is an amazing group who I have followed these past nine months and greatly respect for all the great work they do. They distribute aid such as food staples, clothing, blankets and heating sources, advocate for medical cases in getting the necessary care, supply English lessons and play therapy for children and provide goats to families to help them with income generation. The team at Salam LADC are committed to helping those in need to reclaim their independence.

I have been asked if I could bring my business expertise to help design and implement a livelihood program. I have 26 years’ experience in business management and accounting. I have a Bachelors of Business Administration with a major in Human Resource Management. I will be researching and detailing a plan to provide skills training (ie. sewing and baking), an entrepreneurial training program for basic small business planning and bookkeeping, and interviewing possible candidates for the program. Salam LADC would like to provide participants with equipment and materials to make starting their own business a real possibility. Providing the educational tools and equipment to enable participants to start small businesses is an exciting prospect. I look forward to the challenge!

As Salam LADC is a small but growing grassroots NGO they rely on volunteers and their networks to raise funds for aid distributions.  A food bag containing enough staples for a family for one month costs $25 American and 4 gallons of heating fuel costs $11. For the price of a coffee a day a family can be fed and warm. Please help me give comfort to some of these dear people. I would like to raise enough to provide for all the families in at least one settlement camp. 

I am very excited for this opportunity to help Salam LADC in their vision of developing a livelihood program for refugees and would greatly appreciate your contribution to support aid distributions while I'm here. It's a very worthy cause.

Thank you again for all of your support.

Love Charmaine

GoFundMe are an excellent organization, but they do take a small percentage of donations, so if you would prefer, contact me privately for details of my paypal account.
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Update 7
Posted by Charmaine Craig
10 days ago
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Hello Friends,

I just realized that I haven't done an update on here in awhile. Since the last update, I sponsored a food and fuel distribution to 55 families in honour of my granddaughter Hailey's birthday. Each family received enough rice, chickpeas, lentils, bulgar, pinto beans, sugar, salt, tea and cooking oil for one month. In addition, each family received 20 litres of fuel to help keep warm. And trust me they needed it - that day a major storm front came in.

And, recently I co-sponsored a blanket and heating fuel distribution to a small settlement camp of 46 families that had not received any aid at all in over a year.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your donations. All distributions at SalamLADC are funded by volunteers and their generous supporters--without you this would not be possible. Quite honestly donations can save lives-- at the very least they give hope to those who had none.

Thank you!
Love Charmaine


55 food bags
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Update 6
Posted by Charmaine Craig
28 days ago
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Dear Friends,

We are busy here in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon providing much needed aid to displaced Syrians living in the settlement camps and in town renting horrible spaces. This week volunteers have done food and blanket distributions and plan another food/heating fuel distribution and a large shoe distribution.

Today I will be purchasing food from the wholesaler. We buy rice, lentils, chickpeas, bulgar, etc in 25 kg bags and large boxes of cooking oil, tea and pasta. Volunteers get together at night and crank the music in the warehouse to get busy repackaging family sized bags for distributions.

January 25th is my granddaughter Hailey's birthday so I have scheduled my distribution in her honour. We will be funding enough food staples for one month and distributing 1100 litres of diesel heating fuel for 55 families.

I am also working with a team to improve a horrendous housing situation for a family. We will be purchasing some needed antibiotics for the children, a cook stove and propane, food, hygiene products and whatever else we feel will make their living situation more habitable and sanitary.

Thank you friends for making this happen!

Love Charmaine

Happy Birthday Hailey!
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Update 5
Posted by Charmaine Craig
1 month ago
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Hello Friends,
I'm keeping pretty busy with Salam LADC doing food packing, food and heating oil distributions, the clothing pop up store at the settlements, shoe distributions, house to house assessments and children's activities.
This week we are working on fixing up an unfinished concrete apartment that we found 16 families living in (and charged fairly high rent for such unliveable space). The building is cold and drafty with unsanitary plumbing kitchen/bathrooms. The bottom level of the building where we are starting work is really garages with high cement ceilings. We are framing tents inside each garage to allow for better heating. These are families, with babies, essentially sleeping in cold carports. We will make them as cozy as possible. This week we will also distribute over 125 families with heating fuel and food staples. In addition, we are doing a shoe and a blanket distribution.
I would like to thank all of my sponsors-with your help I will soon have enough to fund my own camp distribution.
Cheers!
Love Charmaine
Two families live in this space
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Update 4
Posted by Charmaine Craig
1 month ago
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Dear Friends,

When I was here in Lebanon, last May, there were 1400 informal settlements. Now, there are an estimated 2050. More and more families have left Syria since the Siege on Aleppo and Lebanon has decided they are no longer permitted to register as refugees which means less aid. It is imperative we get them aid for the cold winter months. These people did not choose war, they are Syrian families displaced by war who wish for peace.

I would like to fund at least one distribution of food and heating fuel for an entire settlement camp. The cost of the food parcel for one family for one month is $25 and 4 gallons of heating fuel is $11 (US funds). For the price of a coffee per day you can help me help keep a family warm and fed this winter.

Thank you for your support!
Love Charmaine
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Read a Previous Update
Doreen Lambert
1 month ago

Have shared with my fb friend list, hope we can help! Be safe!

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$1,950 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 28 people in 3 months
Created November 13, 2016
$100
Kay Hellem
10 days ago
$15
Anonymous
19 days ago
NA
$50
Nicola Aime
19 days ago

Sending respect and love.

CR
$25
Cindy Rukavina
19 days ago
KP
$50
Kevin Penny
22 days ago
DC
$50
Dave Collingridge
22 days ago

Good work, Charmaine. God bless your efforts.

$200
Anonymous
24 days ago
$75
Anonymous
25 days ago
$30
Ruth Griffiths
25 days ago

Lots of love xy

DR
$100
Darren Rutten
1 month ago
Doreen Lambert
1 month ago

Have shared with my fb friend list, hope we can help! Be safe!

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