In the past four months, Canadian Anglicans have donated more than 76 times as much for Syrian relief than they did in the first eight months of 2015-and the spike is translating directly into more aid for desperate Syrian families.
Since Sept. 12, 2015, The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has received $488,605 in donations for relief in and around Syria, PWRDF announced last week. That’s more than six times the $80,155 received from January 2012 to early September 2015, and more than 76 times the $6,401 donated in the first eight months of 2015.
On January 20, PWRDF released a $300,000 grant for necessities of life, such as food, water, shelter, clothing, schooling, blankets, livelihood support, counselling and other forms of aid for thousands of families left homeless by the war, some still in Syria and others now living in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. The grant is being made through the ACT Alliance, a coalition of 137 faith-based organizations for humanitarian aid, development and advocacy.
A key reason for the dramatic increase in donations, says PWRDF communications co-ordinator Simon Chambers, seems to have been the photograph, published in early September, of the lifeless body of Alan Kurdi on a Turkish beach. Alan, a three-year old Syrian boy, drowned after his crowded boat capsized en route to Greece.
“The Alan Kurdi photo brought the matter to people’s attention, and Canadians wanted to respond,” Chamber says. “PWRDF is how many Canadian Anglicans respond to situations like this, so they began to call us (and we announced that we were taking donations). Then when the government announced matching funds, that gave things a boost as well. People love to know that their donation is doing even more work.” Until Feb. 29, 2016, these donations are being matched dollar-for-dollar by the Canadian government for its Syria Emergency Relief Fund.
PWRDF began working on Syrian relief soon after the country began to be torn apart by civil strife in 2011. This latest grant, however, was made possible by an “enormous outpouring of generosity from Canadian Anglicans,” PWRDF said in a press statement.