When little “Rhoda” and her family fled from Aleppo, Syria, they ended up living in one room in a derelict building with no glass in the windows. They covered the gaping holes with plastic. Syrian winters are long and bitter; it was no surprise that Rhoda developed bronchitis.
For Christian families in Syria, whose lives and livelihoods have been wrecked by the civil war, Christmas amid the winter snow is cold and unforgiving. “Rhoda, and many children like her get sick due to the fact there is no heating either at their home or school,” explained Barnabas Fund’s project partner.
Syrian Christians have been affected by nearly eight years of conflict that have seen their homes destroyed, fathers martyred, hundreds of thousands displaced, and anti-Christian persecution from Islamist groups with threats, violence and hundreds of kidnappings. Food has been insufficient, medical care inadequate or non-existent.
The result is a sense of futility and hopelessness, especially amongst young people. A large proportion of their lives has been passed in these conditions, and many have seen terrible atrocities committed before their eyes.
The war is almost over but the restoration of lives has only just begun.
Warmth in the freezing winter
Countless displaced Christian families are still living in wretched accommodation, struggling daily to survive without proper jobs and livelihoods. Barnabas Fund has provided practical help throughout the war and we continue now to assist them. Our current focus is on winter needs – heaters and blankets to keep families warm and well.
Christmas joy for traumatised children
Children are especially vulnerable to the trauma and hardship that the conflict has inflicted on families. Barnabas is providing Christmas gifts for Christian children to help heal the trauma caused by war. The simple presents include a school bag full of stationery plus scarf, hat and gloves.
Barnabas’ partner told us, “The psychological toll of living through eight years wondering if today will be their last is enormous. Ultimately, children need their stress to end or at least to be reduced and we are planning to have this Christmas as an important station on this road.”
Prince Charles pleads their cause
At an Advent service in Westminster Abbey, London, on 5 December Prince Charles expressed his heartfelt concern for the plight of Christians in the Middle East, “[I have met] many Christians who, with such inspiring faith and courage, are battling oppression and persecution, or who have fled to escape it. Time and again, I have been deeply humbled and profoundly moved by the extraordinary grace and capacity for forgiveness that I have seen in those who have suffered so much.”
Help them survive another winter
Will you help Christian families in Syria today?
$40 could provide a heater to help a Syrian Christian family keep their home warm this winter
$15 could provide a warm blanket for a Christian household
$11 could provide a Christian child with hat, scarf and gloves to keep out the winter chill
If you would like to make a gift, please direct your donation to 00-1032 Middle East Fund to help Christians in SyriaDonate
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