Disaster grants focus on Ukraine needs, short-term Kentucky rebuilding project, among others

Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to various needs in recent weeks. A main focus has been the needs of Ukrainian refugees, with major grants going to Church World Service (CWS) relief focused on Ukrainian refugees sheltering in Moldova, to aid displaced Ukrainians with disabilities through L’Arche International, and to Child Life Disaster Relief programming for an orphanage in Ukraine.

Also included among latest EDF grants are a new short-term Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in Kentucky, continued response by PAG to the hurricanes that hit Honduras in 2020, and families displaced by violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Find out more about Brethren Disaster Ministries at www.brethren.org/bdm. Give to the Emergency Disaster Fund in support of these grants at https://churchofthebrethren.givingfuel.com/bdm.

Shirts worn by the team in the DRC assisting families displaced by violence. Photo courtesy of Dieudonne Faraja Chris Mkangya
Relief aid that was distributed to families affected by violence in the DRC. Photo courtesy of Dieudonne Faraja Chris Mkangya
The team distributing relief aid to families affected by violence in the DRC. Photo courtesy of Dieudonne Faraja Chris Mkangya

DRC: A grant of $5,000 has gone to Eglise des Freres au Congo (the Church of the Brethren in the DRC) to provide food, water, and other basic needs to families displaced by violence. The aid will be distributed through Goma Church of the Brethren. Since May 25, heavy fighting between the rebel group M23 and the DRC army has displaced thousands of families near the towns of Kibumba and Goma. The area is still struggling to recover from the volcano eruption of 2021, which caused thousands of displaced families to seek shelter, food, and aid.

Kentucky: A grant of $8,000 funds a three-week rebuilding response in western Kentucky in an area hit by tornadoes in 2021. The grant makes it possible for Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers to work with the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders from Oct. 2-22, doing rebuilding in the towns of Dawson Springs, Barnsley, and Bremen. Kentucky was one of eight states hit by a devastating outbreak of 61 confirmed tornadoes on Dec. 10-11, 2021.

Honduras: A grant of $50,000 continues funding for Proyecto Aldea Global (PAG) hurricane recovery programing following Hurricanes Eta and Iota, which hit Honduras in 2020. PAG is a longterm partner organization of Brethren Disaster Ministries, and already has built 142 homes at the cost of about $3,500 each. The goal is to build 63 additional new homes and make repairs and improvements to an additional 450 homes. In addition, repairs are being made to water systems that serve around 60,000 people living in less developed rural areas. PAG also is expanding livelihoods support including a small animal project to support families that have been relocated from areas that flood frequently. The goal is to provide a similar program with chickens, turkeys, goats, or pigs for as many of the families receiving homes as funds will allow. PAG has also found another donor willing to match any funds they receive in the spring of 2022, meaning they will receive matching funds for this grant.

Ukraine

As of end of May, more than $222,000 in donations to the EDF were earmarked or noted for the Ukraine response. Brethren Disaster Ministries has an ongoing focus to support vulnerable communities and people not receiving enough aid in the international response to Ukraine. The following grants help fulfill donor intent and become a large part of the Church of the Brethren response to this crisis:

A grant of $100,000 supports the CWS focus on Ukrainian refugees sheltering in Moldova. More than 400,000 Ukrainians have fled to Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe with the highest population of Ukrainian refugees relative to its small population. “While their generosity has been extraordinary, the burden of caring for refugees is increasingly evident,” said the grant announcement. The CWS response is focused on humanitarian assistance including food and shelter and supporting host communities; protection including child protection, gender-based violence prevention, and anti-trafficking measures; and durable solutions including access to language-appropriate information and resources, and assisting with safe movement, asylum, and protection in countries across Europe and in the US when appropriate.

A grant of $25,000 supports the L’Arche International response to Ukrainians with disabilities who are displaced in Poland, Lithuania, and inside Ukraine. L’Arche is an international organization working in 38 countries, serving people with intellectual disabilities. While not a typical emergency response organization, L’Arche is providing a variety of emergency response programing including providing for basic daily needs, capacity building, adaptive equipment and disability support, technology, staffing, and transportation.

A grant of $5,000 supports Child Life Disaster Relief (CLDR) programing for an orphanage in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, which had 27 children as of the time of the grant announcement. More than half were newly orphaned from the war. CLDR is a partner organization to Children’s Disaster Services, a ministry within Brethren Disaster Ministries. Ukrainian government officials requested specialized services to help the staff and children at the orphanage who have experienced trauma and stress from the war. The request came through Ohio State University. CLDR has worked on a plan to provide virtual training and coping sessions for the children, tailored to their developmental needs and physical limitations. Children’s programming will include age-specific 45- to 60-minute sessions with virtual groups, taking place over 6 weeks. This programing will be followed by additional training and support sessions for orphanage staff.

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