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IOCC Provides Vital Winter Relief For War-Weary Syria

January 9, 2015

Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Freezing temperatures, heavy snow and chilling winds sweeping across Syria are putting thousands of young lives in jeopardy as displaced mothers struggle helplessly to keep their small children warm and sheltered from the harsh winter conditions. Many live in shelled out buildings with no doors or windows to keep frigid weather out, or in temporary shelters with no heat. The need for warm clothing is great.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is responding with the distribution of handmade sweater sets for 600 children crafted last summer by 34 displaced Syrian women taught to knit through a cash-for-work program. IOCC and its church partner in Syria, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA), offered the one-month training as a way to help Syria's most vulnerable families achieve some financial independence. The new skills help provide vital income for the women and their families while displaced Syrian children benefit by receiving warm clothes to protect them against bitter cold.

Along with the training, IOCC/GOPA also provides the wool and needles used to craft hand-knit sweaters and leggings for displaced infants and toddlers. Many of the knitters, unemployed and displaced widows with no means of financial support, are especially grateful for the new skills that allow them to work where they live and remain with their own children.

"Thanks to this program, people who are able to work and have some experience can earn a living without asking for help from anyone," said Shahira, an elderly widow who has spent the past three years living in a Damascus shelter with her three children. "With the money we make we can provide for our personal needs, from clothing to medicine."

Read more and find out how you can help at IOCC's website.