Over the last 50 years, with the generous support of benefactors and partners, CNEWA has been involved with numerous initiatives in Christian villages in the Jordanian region of Kerak.
In 1962, CNEWAs operating agency in the Middle East, the Pontifical Mission, began a pilot agricultural and rural development program in four villages near Kerak. Named for the first letter of each of the four villages involved in the program — Jadaiyida, Ader, Smakieh and Hmoud — the JASH program sought to strengthen the villages agriculturally oriented economies. Farmers were introduced to new crop varieties, such as grapes, figs, vegetables and fir trees. Women participated in sewing and literacy classes and a weaving project.
Decades later, work in the Kerak region continues and involves a variety of projects and programs. Many initiatives have been connected to the Italian Hospital in Kerak. There, CNEWA has provided medical equipment and supplies, and helped support the hospitals general health services program. But CNEWAs work also supports various pastoral initiatives of the local Catholic and Orthodox churches, among them:
- Furnished the parish center and renovated Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church;
- Renovated St. Georgios Greek Orthodox Church and rectory in Hmoud;
- Provided new tiles, benches and air conditioning for Immaculate Conception Melkite Greek Catholic Church and Enabled the parish of the Immaculate Conception to publish liturgical books in Arabic — thus facilitating worship and prayer among the Christians of Kerak;
- In Smakieh, renovated St. Georgios Melkite Greek Catholic Church, built a soccer field and basketball courts for St. Michaels Latin parish and helped devise a water distribution system involving a well and tanker truck for the village.
To learn more about the work of CNEWA in Jordan, check out these stories from our magazine: