The Refugee Crisis is not over, and the plight of the refugees is as difficult as ever. The situation at the Jungle refugee camp in Calais, France is complicated and tragic. More than half of the camp has been dismantled and demolished by French authorities. The south section has been completely closed, with authorities making plans to demolish the north side as well. The remaining 4,500 asylum seekers in the camp are being forced to either register for asylum in France, or leave the camp and find a new place to stay until the crossing to England can be accomplished. In Dunkirk, officials have taken significant action to correct inhumane living conditions for families. Heated shelters have been provided with regular meals, and officials are overseeing operations. The camp is still closed to outside humanitarian organizations, but we are believing for a breakthrough! Flashlights have been added to our latest assistance packages to both camps in Calais and Dunkirk. The flashlights are hand-cranked and do not require batteries, as batteries have been expensive for the families already living on what they were able to bring with them in the boat. A team last week distributed 500 care packages with flashlights in the Jungle alone. In Macedonia, Convoy of Hope Europe is working with Assembly of God missionaries and the National Church of Macedonia to support a feeding program for asylum seekers in the refugee camp along the northern border near Bosnia. Milk for babies and blankets are currently also being distributed in the camp. A new project is in the works for another feeding program in an additional camp. Convoy of Hope Europe is also continuing feeding programs in Jordan and Bulgaria for Syrian refugees. In Bulgaria, the Convoy of Hope Oasis Center continues to be a center for activity and food distribution for the people in the camp. In an effort to expand work with asylum seekers, the COHEU Response team will be headed to Greece next week for a mass distribution and scouting trip. Other avenues are also being pursued in Italy and Turkey!
Five years ago, Cornerstone Church in Bowie, Maryland decided to partner with Convoy of Hope Europe and adopt the community of Glinjeni, Moldova. Cornerstone sent multiple teams every year to the village, repairing houses, digging a well, and building a church. Over the course of three years, Glinjeni started to change. When the Adopt-A-Community program officially finished in 2014, Cornerstone decided to continue the relationship with the church in Glinjeni, and still regularly provides assistance and mentorship. Five months ago, the church was set on fire due to the influence of the Orthodox church against the evangelical movement. After the fire was put out, people from the community whose lives had been changed through the Adopt-A-Community program arrived to help clear away the debris. Cornerstone also helped with the rebuilding process. Walking in the doors of the church now, the smell of smoke is still heavy in the air, but the building itself looks better than ever. Despite opposition, the project in Glinjeni is still alive and growing. Thanks to the partnership with Cornerstone and Convoy of Hope Europe, the people in the village of Glinjeni have seen commitment from the church to their community. They have seen the church overcome struggles while remaining generous to those who have hurt them. Most of all, they have seen that there is hope beyond their current conditions through a transforming relationship with Jesus Christ!
In Estonia, our first ever Women’s Empowerment project has been running strong through a fantastic partnership with Focus Church in Tallinn! Eleven women that were recommended by local women’s shelters have faithfully attended the weekly classes for education and life skills to better provide for their families in the short and long term. Through the duration of the course, women are trained on topics such as basic business and finance principles for the job market or starting their own small business. They are also trained on family issues such as family finance, grocery shopping on a budget, and emotional health. AGWM Missionaries Nick and Olivia Puccini lead Focus Church, and had a heavy burden on their hearts for the fact that one in every five women in Estonia is a single mother. Convoy of Hope has worked Women’s Empowerment programs on the continents of Africa and South America, but was interested in seeing what could be done for the women struggling in Europe. Considering the different dynamics and challenges for European women versus those in third world countries, this project in Estonia has been a beta program for implementing new avenues of assistance for a group of people that has been marginalized in Europe. The course instructors included university professors, professional counselors, and other successful business women in the community. Throughout the course, women from Focus Church have been building relationships with each of these women which will continue past graduation day on the first of June. This support system is integral to the success of the program, and we are excited to see how it continues to develop over the next few months and into the future!
Meet Leah. Everyone thought prescription drugs, meth addiction, and being enslaved for over 2 years by a pimp would be the final chapter of her story, yet she was rescued and given new hope and a new future! Now she has traveled halfway around the world to share Hope with others, including cleaning and clearing a clogged drainage ditch that has caused serious flooding in this Macedonian community. How can your story share Hope with others? #HopeStartsHere #AdoptACommunity"
In the country of Moldova, poverty is the norm. Caught between the East and West, Moldova is a former Soviet nation taken from its mother country of Romania by Tsar Nicholas of Russia right before the Soviet Revolution in 1917. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Moldova has struggled to develop an independent national identity. It is the poorest country in Europe. The level of poverty in some villages rivals what you would see in Africa or South America, but definitely not what you would expect to see in Europe. Convoy of Hope Europe (COHEU) developed the Adopt-A-Community program around areas like these, where organizations and churches can make a long-term investment into improving conditions for those stuck in the perpetuating cycle of poverty. For those who cannot make a long-term investment, COHEU has alternate programs that can still make an incredible impact. The latest program involves providing groups of rabbits for families to raise and breed. Since female rabbits can safely provide up to 10 babies every two months, raising them can provide food and a source of income for people otherwise out of work. This affordable and sustainable solution has the potential to significantly impact lives in Moldova, as well as initiating meaningful relationships between the people in the community and our local partners. To find out more about how you can be involved, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!