The Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed two grants from the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster (EDF) to support the Shalom ministry’s work with Burundi refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to the work of Church World Service to assist Haitians living in the Dominican Republic.
An EDF allocation of $11,500 responds to the refugee crisis caused by violence in Burundi, working through the Shalom Ministry of the Congolese Brethren. An attempted coup and violence followed Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement that he would run for a third term in office in mid-May. “Some analysts share grave concern that this situation is similar to the beginning of the Rwanda genocide,” said the grant request from Brethren Disaster Ministries. “Many are fleeing this violence in hopes of saving their families. The United Nations High Commission on Refugees reports that more than 105,000 people have fled to neighboring countries.”
Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development is a ministry of the Congolese Brethren, who have a relationship with the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service, although not yet recognized as an official Church of the Brethren body. The grant helps Shalom Ministry provide 350 refugee families with emergency food including corn flour, beans, cooking oil, and salt. When this distribution is completed, Brethren Disaster Ministries will consider a grant for a second phase of the response to distribute laundry soap, household or cooking kits, and clothing.
Haitians in the DR
An EDF allocation of $2,000 supports the work Church World Service (CWS) is doing to assist in the naturalization of ethnic Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. “Tens of thousands people born in the DR to undocumented Haitian parents are stateless, jobless, and in need of international assistance,” said the grant request from Brethren Disaster Ministries. “A court ruling last year allows those who can provide proof of their birth in Dominican territory to undocumented parents to obtain a migratory permit and apply for naturalization after continuing to reside in the country for another two years.”
CWS is assisting Haitians born in the DR to register for national identity cards by the deadline of June 16, working with local partner SSID to provide case managers to help eligible individuals gather necessary documentation. This grant, along with funding from other denominations, will aid around 700 people.
For more about the Emergency Disaster Fund go to www.brethren.org/edf .