Browsing Category: Advocacy

Fleeing for their lives, refugees are making their way to Europe where Convoy of Hope is helping provide resources, connection and hope. Fleeing for their lives, refugees are making their way to Europe where Convoy of Hope is helping provide resources, connection and hope.

Refugee in Bulgaria finds hope through Convoy

The Convoy of Hope team met Mustafa in the Harmanli refugee camp in Bulgaria in 2016. Mustafa fled his homeland in the Middle East because he was from a minority tribe who suffered from intense persecution. Mustafa was studying to become a doctor when he began to witness acts of genocide against those like him. With no other option, he chose to undertake the arduous route to Europe.

Mustafa had heard there were people who could help him on his journey and decided to contact them. These people assured him that he would reach Germany and be reunited with his wife in four days. After paying a large fee, Mustafa waited for their direction.

His first step was to ride in the trunk of a small vehicle along with nine other adults, hidden and crammed against each other. In the heat of the summer, and without being able to eat or drink for four days, Mustafa drew his strength from the thought of seeing his wife again.

Once the car reached the border, Mustafa was kidnapped by his own traffickers. They demanded an extra sum of money from his family back home before he could proceed in his journey. He was forced to spend seven days with 40 other men in a small room with no windows or light and one toilet. They weren’t given food or water during their ordeal and were forced to drink from the toilet to stay hydrated. Finally, his family paid the additional money, and Mustafa was set free.

Despite these incredible hardships, Mustafa was set on reaching Germany. He decided to continue his route through what he refers to as “the jungle,” which are actually the forests of Eastern Europe. Weak, starving, and cold, Mustafa was eventually caught and turned in to the police. After being beaten and held for two days, Mustafa was released.

Mustafa arrived at the refugee camp in Harmali, Bulgaria, and found the Oasis Center, where Convoy of Hope and its partners distribute food to refugees. For the first time in his personal nightmare, someone reached out in kindness. Mustafa now works alongside Convoy and our partners to distribute food and clothing to the rest of the refugees in the camp. He shared with us that he feels his hope has been restored.

***This story was originally reported in 2016. Three years later, with the support of Convoy’s partners in Bulgaria, Mustafa made it to Germany and was reunited with his wife. He has received asylum there. Some details, including his name, have been changed or generalized to protect Mustafa’s privacy.

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Advocacy / Field Story / Inspiration / News

World Refugee Day: Faaiza’s Story

Faaiza is eight years old. Her father holds her close, explains the plan one last time and then tearfully leaves her behind. She watches her parents and siblings make their way through the chaos of the Syrian border into Lebanon. Trucks rumble past and the crowd presses around her, blocking her view. And suddenly, Faaiza’s family is gone — and she is alone.

“My papers were not in order, so they let everyone in my family through except for me,” Faaiza recalls. “I was stuck on the other side of the Syrian border.” This is the life of a refugee. Faaiza’s neighborhood near Aleppo exploded into violence four days before. Having no time to prepare, they fled with all their hands could carry. Their only comfort was the fact they were alive and together — at least until they reached the border.

Stepping out of the view of the guards, Faaiza reaches down and pulls up a handful of dirt from her homeland — Syria. She rubs it on her face and hands, smearing it with the sweat from her long journey. Faaiza tears her clothes and completes the disguise. In just a few moments, she has reduced herself from the daughter of a middle class Syrian plumber to a beggar. With her hands outstretched and her eyes on the barbed wire fence — the only thing separating her from her family — she slips past the guards, crossing into Lebanon by herself. “God helped me find my family,” she says. “He didn’t leave me by myself.”

Convoy of Hope’s team met Faaiza a few years ago as we handed her a small space heater to protect her family from freezing temperatures. Her warm smile cut through the cold wind blowing about the dilapidated Beirut neighborhood where her family lives. For the last few years, Faaiza and her family have been scraping together the pieces of their lives. But, they now have hope for a brighter future. As our team says goodbye to Faaiza, the girl who navigated the border by herself, she turns to her mother and holds out the small space heater. She wants to offer it to another family in their neighborhood whose house isn’t as warm as theirs. Despite all she’s been through, Faaiza’s kindness has never waned.

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Advocacy / Field Story / News
Justin Thomas Plays for Hurricane Florence Survivors at PGA Tour Championship Justin Thomas Plays for Hurricane Florence Survivors at PGA Tour Championship

Justin Thomas to raise money for Convoy of Hope during PGA Tour Championship

Birdie 1 – Round 1 – Hole 6 = $1,000 Birdie 2 – Round 1 – Hole 10 = $1,000
Birdie 3 – Round 1 – Hole 11 = $1,000 Birdie 4 – Round 1 – Hole 12 = $1,000
Birdie 5 – Round 1 – Hole 15 = $1,000 Birdie 6 – Round 2 – Hole 2 = $1,000
Birdie 7 – Round 2 – Hole 4 = $1,000 Birdie 8 – Round 2 – Hole 6 = $1,000
Birdie 9 – Round 2 – Hole 15 = $1,000 Birdie 10 – Round 2 – Hole 18 = $1,000
Birdie 11 – Round 3 – Hole 6 = $1,000 Birdie 12 – Round 3 – Hole 10 = $1,000
Birdie 13 – Round 3 – Hole 13 = $1,000 Birdie 14 – Round 3 – Hole 17 = $1,000
Birdie 15 – Round 3 – Hole 18 = $1,000 Birdie 16 – Round 4 – Hole 2 = $1,000
Birdie 17 – Round 4 – Hole 8 = $1,000

TOTAL: $17,000

For the third year in a row, professional golfer and 2017 PGA TOUR player of the year, Justin Thomas will partner with Convoy of Hope to raise money for hurricane relief efforts. During the PGA Tour Championship, Justin has pledged to donate $1,000 for every birdie and $5,000 for every eagle he makes to Convoy of Hope’s Hurricane Florence disaster response.

Justin, his sponsors and fans generated more than $90,000 in donations over the past two year to help Convoy’s hurricane relief efforts. Justin is currently ranked 4th on the PGA’s Official World Golf Ranking and has had seven PGA Tour wins.

“We are thrilled Justin is partnering with Convoy again this year. His support makes a difference in the work we are doing to help the individuals and communities affected by Hurricane Florence” said Rick Waggoner, Convoy’s vice president of development.

Join Justin in bringing help and hope to those in need!

Donate to Hurricane Florence Response

Check back throughout the weekend to see how Justin is doing.

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Advocacy / Join the Convoy / News

World Refugee Day

As conflict and famine develop in a country, a new normal arises — violence escalates, crops and herds are destroyed and women and children are at the mercy of traffickers — forcing families to move, leaving everything they’ve known behind. Convoy of Hope steps in to offer these refugee families hope through education, emotional support, food, clothing and other important relief necessities.

Hope in Lebanon

In Lebanon, Convoy of Hope currently feeds more than a 1,000 refugee children in urban areas and encampments. Mehar and her family, who escaped to Lebanon from Syria, were often forced to beg for food from their neighbors. Now she receives a meal every school day through Convoy’s nutrition program, relieving financial pressures on her family and encouraging her continued education.

We also restore livelihoods through Women’s Empowerment programming, helping mothers to start their own businesses for a source of income. Doing so allows their children to attend school rather than having to earn money to supplement household expenses.

Hope in Uganda

In Uganda, Convoy of Hope has stepped in with programs reconciling women to their dignity by restoring access to food and clean water, hygiene kits and trauma care. Rose is one of more than 1 million South Sudanese refugees currently in Uganda. She struggled with chronic malnutrition, but after participating in Convoy’s nutrition program for pregnant and lactating women, her health has improved. Along with a therapeutic food supplement, she received training in nutrition, hygiene, and gardening. Rose cites the lack of information as a main reason why so many women are malnourished.

Hope in the Middle East and Europe

In the Middle East and Europe, Convoy of Hope is assessing a priority of needs among refugees and internally displaced families as conflicts escalate. In 2017, Convoy was able to serve thousands of displaced people in areas like Afghanistan, Jordan, Spain and Moldova through relief items like clothing, hygiene kits and winter weather kits.

We applaud the resilience of refugee women and children who, with your help, are re-stabilizing their households, redeeming their childhoods and resuming their lives from within their new normal. On this World Refugee Day, join us in supporting displaced families around the world at convoy.org/refugees.

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Advocacy / Children's Feeding

Good vs. Great: Students supporting feedONE

feedONE Collegiate Coordinator Tom Trask and his wife, Missi, have served as the University of Missouri Chi Alpha Directors for 13 years. They have spent half of that time advocating for feedONE, by empowering their students in acts of compassion, generosity and kindness.

When the group took on feedONE as their philanthropy partner nearly six years ago, they wanted to find something that reached beyond their own campus.

GOOD VERSUS GREAT

“I want them to understand good versus great,” Trask says. “This is not something that is good—it’s something that is great.”

In their first year as a feedONE partner, the University of Missouri Chi Alpha chapter raised a little more than $1,400. This past November, the students raised more than $40,000 during their annual feedONE month.

The students participated in creative and competitive fundraising as a way to raise support for children in the feedONE program. One small group set up a car bash, while other students held bake sales, threw special dinners, played in dodgeball tournaments and performed music.

In March, a group of students volunteered at the Convoy of Hope World Distribution Center, bagging hygiene kits and more than 5,000 meals.

“The difference it has made in the heart of our students — when they see a need, they step up,” Trask says.

FEEDING THE FUTURE 

Tom and Missi continue to instill a passion for feedONE and encourage a life of compassion for students on the University of Missouri campus. They are not only changing the lives of the children in feedONE, but also the lives of students and future leaders.

As they continue to make an impact at the University of Missouri, Tom and Missi look forward to other universities and schools partnering with feedONE.

“Just to watch the compassion grow, it’s contagious,” Trask says. “It’s contagious to inspire each other to greater things.”

feedONE and Convoy of Hope are proud to partner with students and leaders, like Tom and Missi, who actively demonstrate their compassion and kindness for children across the world. Find out how to get involved on your campus today at feedone.com/campus.

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Advocacy / Children's Feeding / Inspiration / Join the Convoy / Volunteering