Philanthropist, entrepreneur, CEO, and cast member of The Real Housewives of Dallas, D’Andra Simmons, is taking a brief interlude from the buzz around Bravo’s diva drama to visit refugee camps and to meet families in Lebanon displaced by the ISIS war. Simmons will see first-hand the operations of private aid organization Mercury One’s program, The Nazarene Fund. She will also travel to Iraq to meet with regional political and religious leaders there to learn what is needed and what are the next steps in helping resolve the refugee crisis.
“As a woman, a Christian and a humanitarian, it is vitally important to me to shed light on the tragedies that have affected families, women and children marginalized by the ISIS war. The persecution of people because of their religious beliefs is unacceptable,” Simmons says. “On my second journey to this region, I hope to be able to become thoroughly educated on the work The Nazarene Fund is doing, so that I may further this cause by encouraging others to display compassion over criticism in order to find a solution to the acrimony that pervades so much of the world.”
Simmons, adds, “It is my desire is to become a voice for the voiceless in this region, and truly show these hurting people the love that I have in my heart for them, and for what they have experienced, in order to begin the long process of healing that they so deserve.”
Mercury One is a non-profit humanitarian aid and education organization based in Dallas, Texas, USA. The organization was founded in 2011 by media personality, author, and entrepreneur Glenn Beck. The charity’s The Nazarene Fund, which has a mandate is to “rescue, rebuild and restore the lives of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East,” currently has operations in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Slovakia, and Greece.
Since 2015, The Nazarene Fund has delivered emergency humanitarian aid to over 35,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). It has facilitated the relocation of over 8000 persecuted Iraqi and Syrian Christians and Yazidis to new countries such as Australia, Canada and Slovakia. It has moved over 5400 refugees and IDPs out of refugee camps and into safe and dignified living conditions in private homes while completely clearing four camps in the process. It has also funded the construction and operation of hospitals, medical clinics, trauma counseling services and schools for refugees and IDPs throughout the region. The Nazarene Fund has also sponsored the successful rescue and repatriation of 61 women and children taken captive by ISIS to be used and trafficked as sexual slaves.
“We could not be happier that D’Andra has taken an interest in our work and look forward to her coming with us as we chart the future course of The Nazarene Fund,” says Mercury One Executive Director, Suzanne Bock-Grishman.
“Her compassion, selflessness and commitment to helping those who have been displaced, marginalized, and persecuted aligns perfectly with The Nazarene Fund’s mission,” continues Grishman. “She has a servant’s heart and she is fearless and relentless when it comes to helping others.”
Simmons’ trip will also include attending a procedure, provided by The Nazarene Fund, at a Beirut hospital to affix a cochlear implant hearing device to a 22-year old Iraqi refugee woman who is both deaf and mute. Simmons will be with her when she hears for the first time.
Simmons’ husband, the decorated war photographer Jeremy Lock, will accompany her on this trip as he documents The Nazarene Fund’s work.