Every year, for more than 30 years, the Social Action Leadership Team (SALT) of the Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University selects one project for which to raise money. We call it the World Relief Campaign. This is in addition to numerous activities done locally which generate hundreds of volunteer hours by students and benefit the Valparaiso area. SALT is involved in local volunteering, spring break service trips and church-based community organizing.
The Hope Underground: Preparing Medics to Serve in Syria
The students of SALT, for their 31st World Relief Campaign, are partnering with Promise for Relief and Human Development (PRHD) to provide educational opportunities for 90 students at the Ghouta Medical Institute in order to replenish field hospitals sponsored by PRHD with trained medical teams. By helping these students gain an education, we are not only bettering their lives but also saving lives. Please join SALT in this by joining The Hope Underground: Preparing Medics to Serve in Syria.
The Hope Underground: The Need
Currently, Syria is in the midst of a civil war and revolution, which has resulted in violence across the country and also a refugee crisis as millions of people are leaving Syria in order to find safety. Since 2011, more than 240,000 Syrian citizens have been killed, and more than four million Syrian citizens have fled Syria seeking safety. Bombs, chemical weapons, and other forms of violence threaten Syrians lives everyday. In addition, countless citizens have been deprived of basic necessities such as food, water, and health services, and the ability to find good medical care is declining. According to The New York Times in 2015, as of July 2015, 300 attacks on hospitals were carried out, killing at least 654 medical workers. Additionally, according to the Syrian American Medical Society, at least 565 civilians have died from starvation, dehydration, or lack of basic medical care, while around 200,000 to 600,000 other civilians are at risk of dying from starvation or other preventable causes because they are in areas that are under siege. The majority of these citizens live in and around Damascus.
The Hope Underground: The Solution
SALT, in their partnership with Promise for Relief and Human Development, will be helping fund the Ghouta Medical Institute. This institute is located in Ghouta, an eastern suburb of Damascus. This medical institute will graduate 90 students every year who will be trained in anesthesiology and laboratory practices by specialized physicians who are currently working and residing in Syria. Once these students graduate, they will join trained medical teams in PRHD field hospitals alongside their teachers to serve the growing number of wounded Syrians.
PRHD is a nonprofit, non-political, non-religious movement for constructive social change and community empowerment through education, healthcare, and basic economic development. Since its founding, they have created an orphan sponsorship program, a physician sponsorship program that supports medical teams working in several field hospitals, they aid refugees, and also have a food assistance program for the Damascus suburbs. To learn more about PRHD’s programs, visit their website.
The Hope Underground: Why Syria and Why Medical Education?
What is happening in Syria is one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time. People are dying every single day. Those who survive feel as if they have to flee the country to save their lives. Syrians face a life of uncertainty whether they flee or not. It is because of this uncertainty that PRHD has stepped in to help by sponsoring their programs that help solve daily problems within the country. With The Hope Underground, we are helping aid the immediate need of trained medical teams in Syria and help PRHD continue to grow their work. By offering this aid through education, we are investing in Syria’s future development. With all of the turmoil, educational opportunities, especially medical education opportunities, are scare. These students are given an option of not only bettering their own lives through education, but also saving others’ lives at the same time.
The Hope Underground: Our Goals
In support of PRHD and the people of Syria, SALT has launched The Hope Underground: Preparing Medics to Serve in Syria, which seeks to raise $30,000 to serve Syrian medical students by funding the following:
Your gift will contribute to these areas in order to help fund two areas that are greatly lacking in Syria currently: health care and education. With your support, we can work alongside Syrians and help rebuild the country. While $30,000 is our goal, it is by no means our limit, because with your continued support we can help sustain this school for many years to come.
The Hope Underground: What Can You Do?
We invite you to join SALT in helping to provide education that not only betters lives, but also saves lives. You can lend your support in a number of ways.
Gifts may be directed to:
Chapel of the Resurrection
1600 Chapel Drive
Valparaiso, IN 46383
*Checks payable to Valparaiso University with “WRC” in the memo line.
Questions may be directed to:
Katie Bernabei, World Relief Campaign Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630.770.7233
Rev James A. Wetzstein, University Pastor, SALT advisor 219.464-6794