Helping Iraqi Christian refugees in Amman

As a registered charity, we take our governance very seriously and insist on strong oversight to ensure we are fulfilling our mission. One way this happens is when our trustees visit our projects on the ground to see for themselves how your donations are continuing to make a positive impact. Below is a report from Christopher Segar, who served as Head of Mission in Iraq for the British Government between 2003 – 2004, and now serves as one of our trustees.

Our ongoing work in Jordan

Christian families continue to arrive in Jordan from war-torn Iraq. Most families hope of emigrating to Australia or Canada but this can take a long time. Pastor You, one of the church leaders we are working with in Amman, estimates that the average wait is 2 ½ years, and families need about 10,000 Jordanian Dinar (£12,000 / $15,000) per year to keep going. Given the terrible …read more

Weekly Media Summary 17 February 2017

Each week we post a selection of recent online items where you can find out about the latest developments in the countries in which the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East operates – Iraq and Jordan.

This week’s Media Summary features news about the recent car bombing in Baghdad and the influence of Christianity in Jordan.

Iraq

Al Jazeera: Deadly car bombing rocks Iraq’s Baghdad

The Daily Express: End of Christianity In Iraq? Priest sees NO FUTURE for the religion in Middle Eastern city

Jordan

Crux: Bishop says the Christian influence in Jordan is still strong

Business Insider: Jordan commander: ISIS increasingly strong in Syrian refugee camp

…read more

Caring for displaced children  in Northern Iraq

Last week we shared an update from one of our Trustees, Christopher Segar, who recently went to Northern Iraq to see for himself the positive impact our work is having. This week’s update is about the children’s projects we are supporting, which include a kindergarten in Erbil, a girls school in Harsham Camp, and an Autism Centre in Kirkuk.

Um al Noor Kindergarten

The Um al Noor Kindergarten is run by the Syrian Orthodox Church and is based in a large villa in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. It caters for around 130 Christian children, mainly from the camps and from the congregation in Erbil. The children only pay if they can and we continue to contribute £4,000 ($5,000) for each school year.

The eight teachers at Um al Noor are led by Mrs Amira Aqrawi who is herself is an IDP from the recently liberated eastern part of Mosul. Mrs Aqrawi says she is reluctant to go back there given the terrible persecution suffered by Christians in the city under Islamic State.


Girls school in Harsham Camp

Weekly Media Summary 10 February 2017

Each week we post a selection of recent online items where you can find out about the latest developments in the countries in which the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East operates – Iraq and Jordan.

This week’s Media Summary features news about the worsening sectarianism in Northern Iraq and the Jordanian military’s recent targetting of ISIS in Syria.

Iraq

Middle East Monitor: Iraq Christian militia threatens to ethnically cleanse Sunni Arabs

Fox News: Iraqi archbishop backs Trump travel ban, hopes for aid to Christians

Jordan

Catholic News Agency: Bishop says the Christian influence in Jordan is still strong

The Daily Star: Jordan hits ISIS in Syria two years after pilot burned alive

…read more

An update on our work in Northern Iraq 

In January, one of our Trustees, Christopher Segar, went to Erbil in Northern Iraq to see the positive impact our projects are having. From 2003 – 2004 Christopher was Head of Mission in Iraq, tasked by the British Government with setting up a diplomatic presence in the country.

Over the next three weeks, we will be sharing Christopher’s updates with you. This week focuses on our emergency relief projects in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Christopher Segar at the entrance of Baharka Camp north of Erbil

The situation in Iraqi Kurdistan

The economy in Iraqi Kurdistan seems to have been hit hard by the fall in the oil price and the cuts in Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) oil exports through Turkey. Consequently, there are more and more power cuts (apparently more off than on now). Everyone has a stand-by generator. Erbil has been heavily developed since 2003. However, many building projects are visibly on hold. Even so, the KRG pays significant costs for all the IDP camps in its territory, which are managed by the Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF) in partnership with UNHCR: mainly providing …read more

Weekly Media Summary 3 February 2017

Each week we post a selection of recent online items where you can find out about the latest developments in the countries in which the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East operates – Iraq and Jordan.

This week’s Media Summary features news about the plight of Christians in Mosul and King Abdullah of Jordan’s recent visit to Washington.

Iraq

Christian Today: Christians May Not Return To Mosul For Years, If At All, Experts Warn

The Jordan Times: Iraq faces challenge of educating Mosul’s displaced children

Jordan

Reuters: Trump visits with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Washington

The Economist: Not much might in the Hashemites – Jordan plays it safe

FRRME in the press

World Watch Monitor: Cleaning up towns freed from IS ‘erases evidence of their crimes’

…read more

We went to Iraq’s largest church and found it desecrated by Islamic State

Last week our team on the ground in Iraq visited the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh, 20 miles south east of Mosul. As you can see, it has been desecrated.

Islamic State captured Qaraqosh in the summer of 2014 and reportedly used the church, which is the biggest in Iraq, as a shooting range. There were terrible rumours that Christian children were beheaded nearby, although these are unsubstantiated. What is clear is that the jihadis vandalised and scorched the building which once housed a congregation of 3,000 worshippers.

Amid the blackened ruins, we found piles of bullet casings, burnt bibles, and Islamic State graffiti. Reports from the ground suggest that pews were used as fire wood and that statues of the Virgin Mary were decapitated. The Nineveh Plain Protection Units, a Christian organisation made up of Assyrians, is currently guarding the road into the city, but it remains a dangerous place to visit.

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Weekly Media Summary 27 January 2017

Each week we post a selection of recent online items where you can find out about the latest developments in the countries in which the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East operates – Iraq and Jordan.

This week’s Media Summary features news about the battle for Mosul and King Abdullah of Jordan’s visit to the US.

Iraq

BBC News: Mosul battle: Children return to schools in recaptured east

The Washington Post: Iraqi troops push into IS-held villages north of Mosul

Jordan

Reuters: Jordan’s King Abdullah to visit U.S. from Monday

Middle East Eye: Car bomb blast at Syria refugee camp on Jordan border kills 4

…read more

Update from our girls school in Harsham camp

According to the UN, 70% of internally displaced children in Iraq have now missed at least one year of school. The longer these children are out of the education system, the harder it is to get back in. However, thanks to Dr Sarah Ahmed, our Director of Operations in the Middle East, 30 girls are now being educated at our school in Harsham camp north of Erbil.

The school is situated next to a boys primary school. The current intake of girls are aged between 11 -14. Later this year we are hoping to set up a class for 15 – 18 year olds. The Iraqi Ministry of Education provides the curriculum as well as stationary and other essentials. We provide the school with food and contribute towards the upkeep of the buildings. In the future, funds permitting, we would like to provide a room for the teaching staff.

One of the girls at our school in Harsham

The UN estimates that up to half of children in IDP camps in Iraq are unable to attend school, putting them …read more

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