CLWR responds to the needs of Syrian refugees

Children in the Za’atari Refugee Camp, located near Mafraq, Jordan. Opened in July, 2012, the camp now holds about 45,000 refugees from the civil war inside Syria. PHOTO: Paul Jeffrey/ACT

Robert Granke, Executive Director of CLWR, Tom Brook, CLWR’s Community Relations Director, and National Bishop Susan C. Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are in Jordan, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem this week.

On Sunday they visited the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, now home to 45,000 Syrian refugees fleeing violence in their home country. Syrian government forces and opposition groups have been fighting for about 20 months now, which has killed 40,000 people, displaced about 2.5 million people, and destroyed homes, businesses, and infrastructure.

Our partner, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), is working in Za’atari to prepare the people there for the winter months. Many people fled their homes in the summer with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and now there is an immediate need for warm clothing (especially for children), as well as winterized shelters and heaters. Winter brings rain and sub-zero temperatures, and many are staying in places with little protection from the cold.

The LWF is also providing mental health care and social support, with a focus on children. Many refugees have witnessed intensifying violence and are enduring the loss of homes, jobs, and loved ones. Children are being given safe places to play. In the coming months, LWF will help refugees organize community-based groups that will take roles in co-managing the camp.

Watch and read first person accounts from Robert Granke, Tom Brook, and National Bishop Susan Johnson:

These Feet Need Shoes
We Lived in Mansions

LWF-Jordan’s emergency program manager speaks about Syrian refugee emergency
Robert Granke of CLWR reflects on the Syrian refugee emergency
Bishop Susan Johnson of the ELCIC reflects on the Syrian refugee crisis

We are launching a national appeal for funds to help with relief in the Za’atari camp. We’re urging the Canadian government to increase their support for Syrians, and to consider matching donations made to Canadian charities.

You can donate online  (,
by phone (1.800.661.2597 or 204.694.5602), or by mail (send cheques to CLWR, 302-393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 3H6 – please indicate you wish to give to Syrian Refugee Relief).

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