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A Time to Sew
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Published November 2020

Since 2012, World Renew has been working in Lebanon to support the needs of Syrian refugees who fled their homes because of the civil war. However, the humanitarian needs have grown recently, due to the explosion in Beirut’s port on August 4, together with the country’s economic crisis, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. On September 8, the Lebanese government announced that most businesses, including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, theaters, cinemas and social event halls, are permitted to operate again.

However, the fallout of the Beirut explosion for the government, economy, and general wellbeing of the country continues to shake families and communities. Pastors have requested prayers for a miracle. World Renew is providing food vouchers to Syrian refugee families, as well as vulnerable Lebanese families affected by the port explosion and economic crisis.

Hygiene kits are helping to protect families from the COVID-19 pandemic, and winter supplies are ensuring that thousands stay warm as the cold winter months approach.

For our brothers and sisters who are refugees in Lebanon, COVID-19 has meant a total upheaval in their lives. Amidst the fear of contracting the illness, food and supply costs have skyrocketed and at the same time, any work that was available has slowly waned. This has all happened in one of the wettest seasons in Lebanon, further affecting Syrian refugee families, many of whom live in tents which they now struggle to keep dry. And in efforts to control the disease, stores have imposed health rules, such as requiring masks – and masks are hard to come by when even affording daily food is difficult.

Over the last several months, World Renew has continued to respond as we always do – in partnership and relationship to show the love of God to those who are suffering. Over the past several years, our partner on the ground, MERATH, has provided vocational training to vulnerable women in the refugee communities. These women have sewn thousands of blankets for refugee families and school uniforms for education programming. With the onset of COVID-19, these incredible women quickly pivoted their work to sew masks.

World Renew has supported MERATH through many different programs helping displaced families – particularly food assistance – and although this is one initiative outside of this support, these masks make it possible for refugee families to enter stores and shop for food with the vouchers they receive from through World Renew. In this way, MERATH and World Renew worked together creatively to ensure families are able to redeem their World Renew food vouchers as safely as possible. Moza, one of the women, shared,

“After the initial learning phase, we received orders for thousands of winter blankets which were going to be distributed to vulnerable families in Lebanon. We were so excited! We used to come at 7 in the morning and stay late in the evening. If it wasn’t for the electricity being cut off at night, we would have kept working and working! With the money I earned from this project, I was able to pay off all the debt I had accumulated since the death of my son.”

The joy of this support and inspiration has not been extinguished by COVID-19. In fact, as a part of our collective work to provide food and supplies in this uncertain time, MERATH contracted these sewing groups to make over 14,000 masks for the families World Renew serve. This accomplished two amazing things for our communities in Lebanon. First, it provided much-needed income to the women in these groups. And second, by providing much-needed masks, it allowed refugee families to shop for essential food items more safely.

Moza said, “The mask sewing project is helping us so much! For starters, I am earning more money through it, which is much needed right now. But we are also aware that these masks will be distributed to families in need and help protect them from the coronavirus and prevent the spread of the virus in the country. This makes us feel very thankful and proud.”

We are honored that in moments of crisis, we are able to come alongside women like Moza and her family. And are inspired by her drive for dignity, excellence and love. While this season has been intensely difficult, we still can see evidence of God’s faithfulness in everyday moments and in the midst of it all — love. And it is in the spirit of His hope, that we will never give up.

World Renew - Canada
3475 Mainway
PO Box 5070 STN LCD 1
Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8