Serving refugees in the Middle East region: DSPR

Location: Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan
Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) is a body of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) that serves Palestinian and other refugees across the Middle East region. In operation since 1949, DSPR provides diverse services to people displaced from war and the ongoing Israeli Occupation, including education, training, community development and advocacy.

Children at the DSPR-run school in Sabra camp, Beirut, Lebanon (Photo: John Lewis)

Children at the DSPR-run school in Sabra camp, Beirut, Lebanon (Photo: KAIROS/John Lewis)

KAIROS supports DSPR’s work of improving the livelihoods of vulnerable rural Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank. DSPR helps communities to better manage and preserve natural resources and to protect their environments while rehabilitating community water networks.The West Bank is a water-scarce region. Cumulative rainfall has decreased substantially over the last 10 years and Palestinians are prohibited from developing water resources and infrastructure without a permit from the Israeli military, the force illegally occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem. At present, Israel uses 85% of the groundwater resources in the West Bank for Israeli needs.

When the Syrian crisis hit the Middle East region, DSPR sprung to action and developed a program to help the refugees spilling into Jordan. KAIROS  supported DSPR’s efforts to aid the refugees ,and DSPR has become a leading member of the ACT (Action by Churches Together) forum serving Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon as well as working inside Syria to offer relief to internally displaced Syrians under siege. Along with relief kits, DSPR provides necessary social and economic support through counselling and training to refugees from the crisis.

DSPR Jordan planning for and influx of Syrian refugees (Photo: John Lewis)

DSPR (Jordan) planning for an influx of Syrian refugees (Photo: KAIROS/John Lewis)

In Lebanon, KAIROS supports the work of the Joint Christian Committee for Social Service in Lebanon (JCC), a branch of the DSPR that implements valuable vocational training and livelihoods support to Palestinian refugee families. KAIROS supports the work of the vibrant Sabra Center serving the people of Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in southern Beirut; camps established in 1949 by the United Nations to aid Palestinians fleeing the violence in their homeland.

At Sabra, the JCC offers a variety of programs to provide education and training to families, including: nursery and kindergarten programs; tutoring for students who need additional support in their studies; literacy classes for illiterate youth and older women; drawing classes for children.  JCC’s vocational training courses include electronics and computer maintenance and repair, hairdressing and barber skills. Additionally, JCC runs a weekly social program for elderly women in the community.

Filed in: Middle East, Migrant Justice

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