MENA Leadership Center offers aid after earthquake

By September 8, 2023
Buildings destroyed against gray sky

Syria (MNN) — In February, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook Turkey and Syria, killing thousands and displacing many more. 

Besides the immense damage the earthquake caused to water systems, infrastructure, homes, schools, and more, many in Turkey and Syria are showing an increased need for mental health support. 

The MENA Leadership Center is supporting mental and emotional well-being in the Middle East/North Africa region. 

Local Christian leaders and Syria and Turkey approached MLC to learn “psychological first aid,” as Fadi Sharaiha, MLC Vice President says.

MLC then connected with trauma healing experts in the region and provided an initial eight psychological first aid courses to local Christian leaders. 

“It wasn’t really a course as much as trauma, healing, and ministry with the Christian leaders over there,” Sharaiha says. 

People from all over the region participated in this training and trauma healing. 

The sessions were significantly impactful, Sharaiha recalls and showed a long overdue need for psychological first aid in these regions.  

One mother who came from Syria was grateful for the presence of MENA Leadership Center, but remembered the death of her own daughter a decade previously due to suicide as a result of PTSD. 

“So this was a much-needed thing to happen,” Sharaiha says. 

While the program was started for an Evangelical Christian audience, people from other denominations, such as Catholics and Syrian Orthodox, began to attend.

“So we started doing this for those different leaders, and it was (a) beautiful thing to see Christians coming together. Unity was one of the impacts, I would say, in addition to helping them out with whatever they’re going through,” Sharaiha says. 

Recovery from natural disasters and war is not going well in Syria, Sharaiha says. MLC’s work with Christian leaders doesn’t stop with psychological first aid. 

They are planning a course for the upcoming year to teach Christians how to handle all types of crises. 

“We’re trying to help the Christian leaders navigate around this, [learn] how to build the proper plan, how to go about funding, how to make sure that they’re doing the right thing that is needed,” Sharaiha says. 

Sharaiha encourages people to view news like this through a biblical Christian lens and to reach out with questions they might have. You can connect with MENA Leadership Center here.

Pray that God will use whatever is happening in Syria for His glory and that He will enable His people to live in and face a very difficult environment. 




Header image portrays damages from the February earthquakes in Turkiye. (Photo courtesy of caglar oskay/Unsplash)