Who we are
The Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (DERD), affiliated to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East (GOPA), was founded in 1994 with the blessings of His Beatitude Thrice Blessed Patriarch Ignatius IV (Hazim). In 2012, His Beatitude Patriarch John X (Yaziji) carried this mission, and appointed the Very Reverend Archimandrite Dr. Alexi Chehadeh as the new Director of this organization in September 2015, that serves others regardless of their religion, race or color, as did the Good Samaritan when he helped a stranger, presenting him with a merciful hand, because of his humanity. Therefore, we embraced him and we carry him as our symbol, embodying our Faith in Actions.
■ We seek to offer help to those who are in the utmost need, ensuring that all the efforts are made to provide a fair service to all, in an attempt to spread the spirit of humanity, justice, tranquility and peace within these communities where we operate.
■ We build cooperation bridges with various civil society groups in order to reach a wider segment of those in need and those who are affected.
■ We develop partnerships with local, regional and international organizations, which share our visions and goals, heading together towards achieving the highest degree of professionalism and methods in designing and executing activities of the diverse programs that we implement.
■ Transform faith through charitable actions and work to serve the public interest, the individual and society.
■ Create a society characterized by peace, justice, equality and interactive co-existence between its members.
■ Support the civil society’s initiatives and contribute to the reduction of social, economic and psychological impact of the crisis that individuals face: Through vocational, educational and developmental programs; as well as supporting small projects and offering guidance and advice.
■ Develop sustainable development projects, and ensure positive implementation of training and development programs.
■ Work on strengthening the effectiveness of the community through appropriate programs according to the capabilities and potentials of the individuals of all ages and gender.
■ Enhance the beneficiaries’ confidence in GOPA-DERD’s programs, through offering humanitarian services to those in need, preserving the dignity and human rights of every individual, in all aspects of their life, work, and education.
GOPA-DERD takes the example of the Good Samaritan stated in the Bible (Luke 10: 25-37) as our role model in good doing and helping others regardless of their race, religion, nationality or ethnicity, by offering services to every human with faith and neutrality.
GOPA-DERD’s role during the crisis
GOPA-DERD worked hard to offer care through a comprehensive set of programs including: Education, Vocational Training, WASH, Shelter, Psycho-social Support, Health and many more. GOPA-DERD’s expertise and activities expanded as a result of the Iraqi immigration and sudden displacement in 2003.
Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, GOPA-DERD rushed to implement its Emergency and Rapid Response programs, Early Recovery programs and those of Livelihood and Sustainable Development. The department recruited its team members’ efforts to meet the needs of those affected, vulnerable, displaced and returnees. These programs aim to provide services to all family members, taking into consideration the importance of covering all their needs in every way possible.