The family that helped the U.S. reach the 10,000 mark for Syrian refugees just settled in San Diego this past week.
Nadim Fawzi Jouriyeh, his wife, and his four children moved to El Cajon—just outside San Diego—this week. El Cajon is a community that has accepted Iraqi refugees, and more recently, Syrian refugees fleeing the war.
The goal to resettle 10,000 refugees a year was reached over a month ahead of time. Most of the refugees have been resettled to either California or Michigan. El Cajon, now an established refugee community, is home to many Arabic-speakers and now even some of the street signs are in Arabic.
For Jouriyeh and his family, the transition to America life fills the days with chores such as grocery shopping, setting up bank accounts, and getting new phones.
In 2014, the family left Syria for Jordan. This trip, which would take about 2 hours normally, took 3 days in order to successfully avoid arrest or injury. Jouriyeh said 80 people in his convoy were killed.
Despite the uncertain life of a refugee, Jouriyeh has only good words to share of his experience in America.
“The way they treat people and the people of America are very nice … When you go down the streets, everyone smiles at you. Even if they don’t know you, they just smile at you,” Jouriyeh said.
Jouriyeh didn’t say whether his family would ever go back to Syria, but right now his goals are to find a job, housing for his family, and to get his children enrolled in school: “We hope our children succeed in education and be able to have a good future here,” he said.
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network has released its annual World Happiness Report, which publishes a list of countries ranked by happiness level.
158 were included in the report, which measures “happiness” by a variety of factors including GDP per capita, life expectancy, generosity, freedom, community support, and absence of corruption.
And the happiest country in the world? Switzerland. Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Canada are close runners-up, followed by Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand and Australia.
Israel is the 11th happiest country in the world, and US comes in as the 15th.
Unsurprisingly, considering the current struggles against terrorism, Afghanistan and Syria have some of the lowest happiness levels, along with the Ivory Coast, Guinea and Chad.
The report was first published in 2012. “As the science of happiness advances, we are getting to the heart of what factors define quality of life for citizens,” said Professor John F. Helliwell, editor of the report. “We are encouraged that more and more governments around the world are listening and responding with policies that put well-being first. Countries with strong social and institutional capital not only support greater well-being, but are more resilient to social and economic crises.”
The goal of the report is to “guide progress toward social, economic and environmental development.”
It’s difficult to say which is spreading faster – the deadly Ebola virus or the rising global terror.
Persistent through the chaotic scrambling of health organizations is the aid flowing from long term nonprofits already established in the most afflicted regions.
“Hopelessness and fear need to be overcome,” Mike Mantel, the CEO of Living Water International, told Relevant concerning the organization’s response to the crisis. “We need divine spiritual intervention.”
A Christian aid organization, Living Water works to provide clean water to Liberia and Sierra Leone. With the onset of Ebola, the organization launched a new platform to provide updates about the crisis. Most importantly, the site shares how people can help.
“Where Ebola is not yet affecting communities, we’re trying to get out ahead and educate church leaders as well as community leaders — even police and prison populations — about what Ebola is and how to take steps to fight Ebola. But the Church is very much, along with our staff, the hands and feet in our water sanitation and hygiene programs,” Mantel said.
Other organizations are also working to combat the disease in various locations with complementary approaches.
Doctors Without Borders
Active in three West African countries, Doctors Without Borders currently employs 270 international and approximately 3,000 local staff in regions affected by Ebola. The organization treated 4,900 patients, shipped over 877 tons of supplies, and maintained six Ebola case management centers, since the beginning of the outbreak.
The organization’s critical priorities remain to “stop the spread of the disease, treat the infected, ensure essential services, preserve stability, and prevent the spread of the disease to countries currently unaffected.”
To learn more about supporting Doctors Without Borders, click here.
Besides providing personal protective equipment and medical supplies to health care workers in Sierra Leone and Senegal, World Vision is working with government officials and health agencies to plan cooperative efforts against the virus. The organization participates in the World Health Organization’s Ebola Task Force.
World Vision is a key player in active education on preventative measures, through both radio programs and house-to-house information sharing.
“When so many communities face such terrible suffering, the church must be there to combat fear, stigma, isolation, and hopelessness with both love and tangible support,” said Bruno Col, World Vision communications director in West Africa.
To donate to the organization or to sta
rt your own fundraiser, click here.
Samaritan’s Purse is establishing and managing Community Care Centers across Liberia. Trained locals run these health facilities, which assist those infected in the most remote rural areas. The organization also spearheaded public health initiatives in Liberia, including caregiver training, kit distribution, and massive public education campaigns. Since March, the organization provided potentially life-saving information to more than 1 million people.
“Our efforts are moving in the correct direction,” said Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs and government relations for Samaritan’s Purse. “We are training people to take care of their loved ones, while protecting themselves and their families from infections.”
To donate to the organization’s West-African Ebola Response, click here.
UNICEF has reached 5.5 million West African people with disease preventative information and supplied over 600,000 bottles of chlorine bleach in Guinea and Liberia. By caring for affected families, offering education, training medical personnel, and providing medical equipment, UNICEF is adamant to stop Ebola.
Thanks to the generosity of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, every donation to UNICEF will be matched $1 – $1. To learn more about donating, click here.
Numerous other aid organizations are working to halt the spread and impact of the Ebola virus. Mantel encourages those concerned to play a role in the fight by spreading vital information and giving to aid organizations
“You know, even in the United States where we have so much access to information, we still don’t totally understand what’s happening in West Africa,” Mantel said.
“I think the readership should respond with prayers and should respond with helping us, come alongside and partner with organizations and provide water and sanitation training and keep the Church engaged and at the center of this.”