To leave or to stay? Many Syrian and Iraqi families face that question as the conflict continues to rage around them. International humanitarian assistance is dwindling and the patchwork…
*See January 7, 2016 update below* The Government of Canada has announced it will match all donations for the Syrian crisis response dollar-for-dollar through its new Syria Emergency Relief Fund.…
A photo of a dead child washed up on shore. Crowds of refugees walking towards safety in Europe. Overcrowded boats filled with frightened families.
It’s been a year since Qasim* left his home in Sinjar, Iraq. He was fleeing an advance by the Islamic State Group – the same one that left tens of thousands of Yazidis like him stranded in the mountains. Qasim, his parents and three brothers, along with their wives and children, spent two days in a camp before moving on because it was too crowded.
It’s easy to hear the smile in Hanan Talabeh’s voice. Even over the phone it’s obvious she’s thrilled— months after her family arrived from Syria. Talabeh’s sister-in-law, along with her three children, landed at the Ottawa airport on July 22, one year before they expected an answer on their refugee application.
Damaris found a safe place at the House of Light and Hope centre, where 120 refugee girls affected by the Syrian crisis get support to deal with the trauma they experienced and the difficult circumstances in which they live. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) supports House of Light and Hope, a ministry of the Greek Orthodox Church.
With half of Syria’s population of 22.4 million now food insecure and one-third Syrians in need of urgent assistance, the World Food Program of the United Nations is making an urgent appeal for help.
All Hanan Talabeh can do for her family in Syria is wait. Wait at home in Ottawa while the Canadian government processes her family’s refugee application. Wait, and hope that her sister-in-law and her three children are approved faster than the 18 months applicants are told to expect.
“I have a headache everyday worrying about how I will pay my rent and feed my family.” That’s what Syrian refugee Amoun Habouch, who is caring for eight children, told Foodgrains Bank executive director Jim Cornelius in August when he visited her in Lebanon.
When Syrian children return to school this fall, many will carry a weight much heavier than a backpack. They will remember fleeing their homes while bombing, shelling, shooting, and raids happened around them. The loss of family members and neighbours who have died in the Syrian conflict weigh on them.
Ramadan was in July this year, and Muslims around the world fasted during daylight hours to mark their holy month. Two Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) projects helped to make this time a little easier for families in need of relief, displaced by the conflict in Syria.