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Supporting Armenian Christian minorities in the Middle East

 

By Cara Taylor | Jinishian Memorial Program

Historically, Armenian peoples have lived throughout Asia minor for thousands of years, with a distinctly Christian faith since 300 C.E., but Ottoman forces massacred or displaced over 2 million Armenians during World War I. April 24 is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day observed by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

The Jinishian Memorial Program (JMP) began meeting the needs of the post-genocide population throughout the Middle East in the 1960s by forging unique ecumenical, local partnerships of completely indigenous teams. Beyond the scope of the previous post-war relief efforts, JMP sought long-term solutions for restoring dignity to Armenian communities. In Jerusalem and Istanbul today, JMP is a vital thread in the fabric of support to these Christian minorities.


Sonya has her own dress design business. A small grant from JMP helped her build her supply of lace and beads.

This microloan program has continued in Istanbul successfully since 1968, providing interest-free loans for small business development and home improvement. Recipients feel pride in repaying their loan and using the resources to provide for their own families.


Tereza needed accessories to expand her wedding organizer business. The Presbyterian Women of First Presbyterian Church in Charleston, Illinois, chose the JMP program to support women like her with small businesses in Istanbul. Thanks to their generosity, the microloan program doubled in 2017.

 


Minnos creates handmade jewelry packaging. JMP director Eliza Minasyan said, “We provide individual interest-free loans over a 10-month period to those struggling to sustain their livelihood. Our beneficiaries are very reliable, hard-working and trustworthy people trying to keep up with economic difficulties.”

 


Nadya sells cosmetics out of her home office. She’s one of dozens of proud workers who were able to grow their businesses — from skilled crafters to online distributors and carpenters.

In addition to microloans, vocational grants for computer and language skill-building help spur employment. For those living in acute distress, volunteers in Istanbul also brought aid to more than 150 neglected households.


Altogether, JMP reached 1,200 of the most vulnerable among Armenian communities in Jerusalem and Istanbul in 2017 in Istanbul. Run almost entirely by devoted volunteers, they keep administrative costs down to only 2 percent.
 
 
 
 


In Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter, the Jinishian health clinic serves an average of 100 patients each week, including clergy. JMP also provides small family allowances, a lifeline for those in poverty.

 
 

The Jinishian Memorial Program began in Aleppo, Syria in 1966 to meet the needs of the post-genocide Armenian population. Today JMP reaches more than 70,000 people each year in seven locations, often where other organizations won’t go — Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Artsakh and Georgia. The leadership and staff are 100 percent local and unite across Apostolic, Catholic and Evangelical traditions to share God’s love with the most vulnerable.

Give securely online to support the Jinishian Memorial Program. Your gift today will make a lasting impact in Syria. Each small act of mercy can empower someone for life.

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…from poverty and despair
to self-sufficiency and hope