We are the army of love!

Leadership Team

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Lenya Heitzig

Founder and Executive Director

jennifer-santiago

Jennifer Santiago

Co-Founder and Director

kelly-besedick

Kelly Besedick

Production and Marketing Manager

WHO WE ARE:

We are the army of love. Our mission is to convey Gods love by fighting back with tenderness to children who have been impacted by terrorism. We rally as many people as possible to join our lovement to arm children with hope.

By igniting a fervency for compassion and persuading people that one small action can make an enormous difference, we inspire others to fight beside us wielding the most powerful weapon of all: their hearts.

WHAT WE DO:

When a crisis caused by terror arises, we send aid to in-country partners that have expertise in rescuing children from harm’s way and provide much needed assistance, including relief supplies, children’s programs, and safe spaces such as playgrounds.

Reload Love defines terrorism as unlawful acts of violence against deliberate targets with disregard for the safety of civilians or noncombatants for political or religious purposes. Whether one is for or against guns, violence, or war, we believe all can unite around the message that babies and bullets don’t mix.

HOW WE DO IT:

We accomplish this through donor contributions, the time and service of our volunteer teams, as well as the sale of our merchandise.

Our jewelry is made from spent bullet casings. We melt them down and upcycle into beautiful brass pieces; symbolizing God’s redeeming love for oppressed and orphaned children due to the ugliness of terrorism.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • 6,300-8,400 children either die or become disabled every year due to explosion of land mines that were installed by the opponent countries in previous wars.

 

  • 1.5 million children were killed, more than 1 million children became orphans, more than 6 million children were injured badly or became disabled due to armed conflicts in the last 10 years.

 

  • 25 million children in the world had to take refuge in other countries and more than 10 million children are affected during the process and experienced major traumas.

 

  • 452 million children are living under dangerous and unstable environments, considering that they might wake up to gunshot noises and that they may experience attacks, kidnappings and the fear of death.

Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan collapsed on August 15, 2022, and violence erupted throughout the entire country. Innocent Christians, women, and children were specifically targeted and killed at the hands of the Taliban. Reload Love provided emergency relief aid to Afghanistan’s most vulnerable, both in country and refugees in neighboring countries. Together with a coalition of partners, Reload Love funded evacuations and provided refugee families with at least three months housing, utilities, nutrition, transportation, and tangible goods. In addition, we established Reload Love Care Teams to help provide practical assistance, life skills, and friendship.

Armenia (Amri – Taza)

Armenia is home to up to 50,000 Iraqi Yazidi refugees, making them the largest ethnic minority in Armenia. They fled their ancestral homeland in northern Iraq amidst religious persecution at the hands of ISIS/ISIL militants. The Yazidi genocide saw thousands of women and girls forced into sexual slavery. Consistent with Reload Love’s core mission to provide safe spaces where children can experience normalcy while healing from trauma, we supported building a playground in partnership with an in-country organization serving Yazidi refugee children.

Bangladesh

In 2017, violence in the Rakhine State in Myanmar set off a new wave of destruction and fear that pushed more than 720,000 refugees—more than half of them children—into Bangladesh. This people group known as the Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority from Myanmar, have been long subject to discriminatory laws and policies that deny them citizenship, basic rights, and any opportunity to lead normal dignified lives. Bangladeshis were the first to respond. The government kept its border open for refugees and supported mass vaccinations and medical aid for the Rohingya children. Reload Love was able to fund medical care for some of these children through one of our partners.

Bulgaria

Directly across the Macedonian border in Bulgaria, there is a community of people who are stateless. Because of their non-citizenship status, they live in extreme poverty and are prevented access to education and legal employment. This results in an unbreakable cycle of poverty, which forces people to look for employment outside of the law, leaving young people susceptible to recruitment by terrorist groups. Reload Love worked with one of our partners in the area who reaches out to the community, providing shoes, clothing, food, formula, and children’s programs to these at-risk children.

Burma (Myanmar)

Since 1948, in what has been considered the world’s longest-running war, the Karen and other ethnic people groups of Burma have been oppressed and persecuted by multiple governments, including a brutal military regime that held power from 1962-2011. Under this military rule, ethnic cleansing and military action, including murder, rape, and the burning of villages, claimed the lives of an estimated 500,000 people. Today, even after the country’s first democratic election in 2015, the military continues to threaten innocent people throughout the nation. Through our local partners, Reload Love has sponsored children’s programs, provided clothing, a classroom, and built two playgrounds.

Cambodia

In the 1970s, the Khmer Rouge regime carried out a genocide that led to the deaths of nearly 25 percent of Cambodia’s population. Cambodians were terrorized by the fear of forced relocation, mass executions, forced labor, and malnutrition. This brutal campaign decimated the country’s religious, educational, and social structures—particularly the family unit—leaving a very fractured society. The educated class and the entire education system were wiped out. Years later, Cambodia is still one of the poorest countries in the world, and though it is slowly recovering from its dark past, Cambodian children still remain extremely vulnerable to exploitation and terrorization. Reload Love supported the expansion of a school and playground in Poi Pet.

Egypt (Minya)

In Upper Egypt in the Middle East’s largest Christian community, ultra-conservative Muslim extremists continually discriminate against and persecute Christians. In addition to deadly attacks on Christian churches, girls are kidnapped and forced to marry Muslim men in an effort to convert them to Islam. Consistent with Reload Love’s core mission to provide safe spaces where children can experience normalcy while healing from trauma, we supported building a playground in partnership with a Minya-based organization that serves Christian children who live under constant threats and attacks from extremists.

Iraq

As ISIS continues to ravage the Middle East, they are focusing their hateful venom on the Kurdish, Yazidi, and Christian populations. Tens of thousands of people who were forced to flee their homes and ancestral lands now reside in IDP (internally displaced people) camps throughout the northern part of the country. A large number of Syrian refugees who sought to escape the violence of ISIS in their own country fled to Iraq. Reload Love has supplied aid for children in the form of clothing, shoes, baby formula, relief supplies, educational buildings, and supplies, as well as trauma counseling for young people who were tortured and raped by ISIS. We have built eleven playgrounds and renovated a soccer field, bringing much needed joy to these children who live in ISIS-devastated regions. Our efforts are ongoing in this country as we continue to fight against terrorism with love.

Jordan

Since the onset of the civil war in 2011, over 600,000 Syrian people have fled to Jordan, resettling in refugee camps and cities throughout the country. Reload Love is dedicated to the well-being of these children and has funded children’s programs and built three playgrounds in strategic locations that specifically benefit refugee children. We have also purchased transportation and provided a Christian-based education for twenty-five Iraqi refugee children located in Jordan.

Lebanon

While much of Lebanon is a peaceful country, there are factions and groups based there that hold to strong jihadist beliefs. Reload Love donated funds to a private Christian institution that provides a quality education to children of all faiths. A majority of the students are at high risk of being recruited into terrorist groups. The goal is to give these children an alternative education in hope of preventing them from choosing a jihadist path.

Nigeria

In Nigeria, more than one million children are internally displaced due to relentless violence from the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. Forced to live like refugees in their own country, these children are at high risk for joining gangs and terrorist groups, becoming drug addicts, and living on the streets. Young girls are pushed into early marriage and childbirth. Reload love helped expand evangelical soccer programs in northern Nigeria, including funding building a sports complex, established evangelism and discipleship story clubs, and provided training, translation, and supplies for teachers and volunteers.

Pakistan

For more than three decades, Pakistan has continued to host over 1.45 million refugees, mostly Afghan, making Pakistan home to the largest refugee population in the world. As a pilot country for a global education strategy, it has developed in-country education focused on increasing access to primary education and safe learning environments. We had the opportunity to build a playground in Pakistan to support this strategy.

Syria

As war ravages this country, 19.7 million people have been affected with an additional 2.98 million in hard-to-reach besieged areas, quickly making Syria the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time. To relieve the trauma of the children in this country, Reload Love made a love jump into Syria and provided eight playgrounds in different locations to bring hope, healing, and restoration.

Thailand

The brutal ethnic cleansing by the military regime in Burma forced many people to flee across the border into Thailand to escape violence and oppression. Today, many still live in refugee camps, while others are considered stateless—unrecognized as citizens by any state or country—lacking even the basic rights granted to refugees. Many aid organizations are working to bring these people a brighter future. Reload Love purchased new transportation for one of our partner organizations and contributed funding for children’s programs.

Uganda

Since December 2013, violent conflict between the South Sudanese government and opposition forces has caused millions of people to flee to neighboring countries, with over one million taking refuge in northern Uganda. But even prior to South Sudan’s formation as a new nation in 2011, the region (then a part of the country of Sudan) was embattled in a civil war. Sadly, many people have found themselves as refugees multiple times in their lives. Of the many camps scattered throughout northern Uganda, the Pagirinya refugee camp, where we have built a playground, is home to over 60,000 refugees—mainly women and children. Our aim is to support local refugee pastors in this camp. While meeting the needs of many, they are raising a generation of children to be Christ-followers who may someday return to South Sudan as peacemakers and culture changers.

Ukraine

As Russia continues its unprovoked attack on Ukraine, Reload Love’s partners on the ground evacuate families with children every day. At every opportunity, we are supporting the dangerous and tenuous efforts to safeguard Ukrainian children. Early in the conflict, we underwrote the development of sophisticated software to track displaced orphans, decreasing their chance of exploitation. We have also provided rent and utilities for five refugee centers. We are establishing two playgrounds to provide safe spaces where Ukrainian children can experience normalcy during this trauma inflicted crisis.

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