In the summer of 2011, the UN identified severe drought in the Horn of Africa. Affected countries in this East African region include Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan. Considered the worst in 60 years, the drought caused a severe food crisis across the region, affecting close to 10 million people. Read more
The Wasichana Wote Wasome (WWW) project has the goal to improve school enrolment, retention, attendance and learning outcomes of girls in school throughout Kenya. The project, funded by the UK government, consists of a consortium of five organizations, with AMURT being the lead implementing partner in Samburu and Mombasa Counties. Read more
AMURT’s model of community-based collaborative healthcare in Nigeria has proven effective, with over 1965 successful births taking place in 2016 in the seven AMURT-supported health centers in three local government areas in Ebonyi state. In Offia Oji alone, 85% of the women are coming to the health center for delivery. This is remarkable given that previsouly the vast majority of women were giving birth at home or with a traditional birth attendant, a risky endeavor if faced with any birth-related complications. Read more
AMURT is establishing a number of regional hubs in Kenya that will serve as engines of development into the foreseeable future. These development centers reflect AMURT’s commitment to long-term dialogue and action with local communities to support their efforts to improve life. Read more
Kenya has long been a venue for many of AMURT’s service projects over the years, but new challenges continue to affect millions of residents. Education, healthcare, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, job creation, and care for orphans and vulnerable children have all been areas of emphasis and continue to be a large part of AMURT’s presence in Kenya. Read more
The Nepali Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed a total of 488,789 houses destroyed and 267,477 damaged during the two earthquake period of April and May 2015. The death toll stand at 8,219 people and half a million buildings damaged or destroyed. In the most affected districts up to 80 % of the public schools are damaged or destroyed leaving most children out of school.. United Nations estimate 3 million people are in need of food aid.
AMURT & AMURTEL volunteers are busy day and night providing basic supplies, such as essential groceries, tarpaulins and blankets, along with medical support through mobile clinics. In the first month after the earthquakes AMURT & AMURTEL has distributed food parcels to 15,300 persons, tarpaulins to 2,088 persons and 7,500 people have been treated by our medical volunteers.
AMURT & AMURTEL is responding with relief teams in several locations and is appealing for donations.
Click here to download AMURT Nigeria’s 2014 Annual report:
2 Year Snapshot
- Child Friendly Spaces model for kids out of school
- School support for 600 children
- 3,000 refugees kept warm
- 15,000 refugees given food
- Facilitated 1,000 families’ refugee status
Over 2 million Syrians fleeing the war have poured into Lebanon; more than to any other country. This generous nation of only four million people has limited capacity to deal with a refugee influx of this scale. Yet, as fighting in Syria intensifies, the number of innocent civilians affected continues to grow.
Since the early days of the Syrian crisis, AMURT Lebanon has been supporting refugees in the mountainous upper Chouf district with their basic needs; providing fuel, blankets and warm clothing to protect against the cold winters. AMURT’s current focus is on the wellbeing of the refugee children.
The Plight of Syrian Children
Up to half the refugee children have no access to education for a variety of reasons; and many have not seen a school classroom for two years. Even refugee children in school face difficulties: one in three are unable to function properly due to the psychological scars left by the traumatizing experiences of war.
AMURT is one of several NGOs working to bring a sense of normalcy back to the lives of these children. Wherever possible, AMURT works with parents and school directors to place Syrian children directly into local government schools, while also providing group or individual psychosocial therapy to help the children integrate into their new environment.
If school placements are unavailable, or if a child requires special preparation and psycho-social assistance before entering regular school life, then AMURT’s Child Friendly Space model is the best option.
Child Friendly Spaces
Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) are safe, nurturing and stimulating environments, which provide young refugees the chance to rediscover their innate innocence and positivity. Children usually spend their first three months in the CFS free from educational targets, benefiting from a structured routine full of stimulating activities. This initial period helps them re-enter society and prepare for learning.
After this initial period, the children start a basic numeracy and literacy program, which not only stimulates their desire for learning, but provides AMURT staff with a way to measure whether they are ready to join the public school system. Once a child is ready, the next step is either to join the Back to School program, or a longer intensive learning course, such as the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP), to quickly reach a suitable school entry level. In this way AMURT is creating a pathway to education.
The AMURT psycho-social team supports children in both the CFS and public schools. They conduct observations and assessments, often working with groups or individuals referred by a teacher.
Conditions most commonly observed in Syrian children include fear, trauma, ADHD / hyperactivity, loneliness, low self-esteem and aggressiveness.
Where needed, the psychologists may use cognitive, behavioural, and positive therapies as well as psychodrama and relaxation techniques; all aimed at helping children overcome psychological distress and restoring their normal healthy outlook and behaviour.
AMURT’s psycho-social team supports children in both the CFS and public schools. They conduct observations and assessments, often working with groups or individual children referred by a teacher. The conditions most commonly observed in Syrian children include fear, trauma, ADHD, loneliness, low self-esteem and aggressiveness.
The psychologists draw upon a variety of therapeutic approaches (cognitive, behavioral, and positive), as well as psychodrama and relaxation techniques; all aimed at helping children overcome psychological distress and restore their normal healthy outlook and behavior.
Every therapy session begins with psycho-education to help students better understand themselves. They discover that what they are going through is a normal and common response to intensely traumatic experiences.
When parents enroll their children, they are asked to volunteer at least once a week in the program, so now many mothers regularly support CFS activities, helping to build a sense of community.
Psychologists and outreach staff regularly work with parents on family issues. This brings many positive changes in parents’ relations with their children, and further enhances Syrian community involvement with the project.
Back to School
Innocent children are suffering most as a result of the Syrian war that began more than three years ago. Many have gone without education for a long period since the outbreak of fighting and the vast majority of refugees streaming into Lebanon remain outside the school system.
AMURT pays school fees and arranges transport for the most vulnerable refugees spread throughout the mountains. It is a vital help to get these youngsters back into school, where they can experience social inclusion, stimulation and a stable routine to help soothe the horrors of war and dislocation. AMURT also engages psycho-social specialists to assist their healing process and conducts teacher training to provide children a broader support network.
Education: Hope for the Future This young Syrian girl is seen receiving her first school uniform. The previous year, her parents were forced to choose which of their children to educate, as they couldn’t afford the expenses for all. Teachers recognised she was unusually gifted, and begged she be kept in school, helping as they could. She adapted quickly to the Lebanese curriculum and excelled in all her subjects. This year, due to AMURT’s intervention, she is fully registered in school along with all of her siblings. AMURT also provided them text books and school uniforms.
Help for Struggling Schools Many Lebanese schools were already struggling before the enormous wave of refugees. Now refugees fill 30% of the classes in some schools, which is becoming a considerable burden on resources. Upgrading essential equipment is one way AMURT helps schools cater for newly arrived Syrians.
The Joy of Belonging: Wearing a School Uniform Children affected by the trauma of war and being uprooted from their former life require quick re-establishment of an educational routine and psycho-social support to regain a normal development path.
German donor agency Kinder Not Hilfe has sponsored AMURT Lebanon’s Back to School and Child Friendly Space programs since October 2013.
To help vulnerable refugee families though the bitterly cold mountain winter, during 2013/14, AMURT distributed heating stoves and fuel on behalf of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Harsh Conditions This family is smaller than most, but endures harsh conditions all too common. Referred to AMURT by the local municipality, they lived in a 10m2 section of a concrete shed used for farm machinery. There was no window glass, just holes, and no running water. They collected water from a spring 200m away; bathing and toilet were outdoors. The mother, when already 9 months pregnant with her second child, slipped and fell in the icy cold: the baby did not survive. The father worked long hours for the farmer, earning under $5 a day.
Winter Stoves Weather forecasters predicted an especially cold winter for Lebanon’s mountains, where snowfall of 2 meters occurs in higher areas. Fuel-burning stoves are essential items, particularly for the many families living in poor housing or caring for a relative with a medical condition.
Motherless Children Two girls now in their grandmother’s care, who explains how their mother died in a bombing just one hour after giving birth to the younger child. She points to the eldest. “She kept asking for her mother for one month; but after that she came close to me.” Their father remained in hospital in Syria.
Food Distribution Refugees just arriving from Syria often lack even the most basic essentials. Between 2012-13 AMURT provided all who reached Chouf District with certain emergency assistance they required: ranging from food to blankets, mattresses, and special kits for hygiene or baby needs.
AMURT is the main international NGO based in upper Chouf and works with village coordinators, municipalities and local and international NGOs. In addition to international support personnel, AMURT Lebanon has a ready pool of dedicated local staff and volunteers: team members include Lebanese and displaced Syrians, who have a strong desire to ease the suffering of their country-folk. According to the UN, this is the worst refugee crisis for 20 years. More can and must be done. AMURT is uniquely positioned to make a difference. Your help will make that possible. Help expand services for Syrian refugees and refugee children: make a secure online donation now.
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One Year Snapshot
59 repaired houses
116 newly constructed houses
19 new buildings
39 new classrooms
89 repaired/renovated buildings
189 repaired classrooms
DAY CARE CENTERS
18 repaired Kindergartens
5 newly constructed Kindergartens
142 hectare land cultivated
introduction of organic farming
municipal demonstration farm revived
construction of 2 farmers’ training center buildings
construction of 3 nursery buildings, structures for composting/vermi-culture
construction of labs, seed banks, storages
Child Friendly Spaces in 11 villages
trauma healing for 330 children and mothers
Over one year has passed since 200 mph winds wreaked havoc on the coastal belt of East Samar in the Philippines. From the beginning, AMURT has worked in close collaboration with government authorities and the people themselves to play its part in rebuilding shattered lives.
Back to school
AMURT’s reconstruction teams, under the capable leadership of local civil engineers, have built 39 new classrooms and repaired 189 classrooms in 108 schools, making it an important implementing organization in East Samar. AMURT’s efficiency and excellence have attracted visits from high ranking officials. Both the president of the Philippines and the secretary general of education have visited our project to witness the achievements and offer their appreciation for the way AMURT prioritized the need to get children back to school.
AMURT has adopted the motto, popularized after the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia, of “building back better.” So, not only did AMURT rebuild and repair, but it upgraded entire school campuses, replacing all termite-infested wooden structures, for example, and even repainting the flagpoles.
In addition, AMURT has renovated or constructed 23 daycare centers, transforming dark and cramped facilities into cheerful, light-filled centers of learning.
Home sweet home
AMURT construction teams have been rebuilding individual homes in the barangays of Agnaya and Asgad. A total of 116 homes are being rebuilt and 59 homes are being repaired. 60% of the beneficiaries, selected through a lottery system, have started moving into these permanent structures that are built to resist powerful storms.
AMURT offered the beneficiaries design choices, to give their homes a personalized feel. Hence, people could opt for terraces, or bigger living spaces, or more windows. In this way AMURT accommodated individual needs, providing people with a sense control over rebuilding their lives.
This reconstruction project was made possible through the tireless endeavor of the mayor of Salcedo to secure suitable land for the houses. Many of the beneficiaries lived too close to the ocean, in what has now been declared a “no build zone,” and had no choice but to relocate.
AMURT has forged a highly productive relationship with the mayor and his team in what has become an exemplary private-public partnership. Right from the beginning, when AMURT was still mobilizing resources, the spirit of cooperation prevailed, with the mayor providing AMURT with vehicles and warehouse space.
Strengthening the base
An estimated 33 million coconut trees were destroyed, by Typhoon Yolanda, wiping out the livelihood of many already poor famers. Given that coconut trees take 6 – 9 years to grow to maturity, an alternative source of income is crucial. AMURT has been in a dialogue with the Department of Agriculture of Salcedo municipality, and the farmers themselves, to find alternative solutions.
AMURT rebuilt and improved the municipal demonstration farm, which serves as a source of seeds and organic fertilizers for local farmers (with the capacity to generate 20 tons of fertilizer each month). Moreover, the training facility built by AMURT will provide the farmers with new farming methods such as compost making and integrated pest management. AMURT sees the demonstration farm as a catalyst for sustainable agricultural development.
AMURT staff worked with local farmers to form 33 new farmers’ associations, and to unite all the associations into a farmers’ federation that serves 1900 farmers. The federation distributes essential farming inputs to the farmers, and purchases and markets their produce, thereby cutting out the middle men so more profits go to the farmers themselves. This was a crucial step as the Department of Agriculture will only fund farmers who organize themselves into a federation.