ARAMAIC RELIEF was working directly on the scene for three weeks. First in Northern Iraq, where we distributed 15 tons of clothing from Switzerland to needy refugees. In addition, 4 tons of food were supplied to the displaced Jesidis and Christians. Finally, with the two tons of children’s books collected in Switzerland, the two libraries in Erbil, we had for the employment of refugee children.
Then we went to Lebanon …
POVERTY – CHILDHOOD – EXPLOITATION
Lebanon is the country with the most Syrian refugees, estimated to be 2 million including the non-registered refugees. Most of them are located in simple self-made tents in the Bekaa plain. Others, on the other hand, hired small outbuildings and lived there, as is often the case in Beirut. Poverty is omnipresent. To pay the rent, the parents work for hunger wages with very bad conditions, this is usually not enough. So that in many cases the children are forced to work hard to support the family with further income. Schools are not allowed to visit them and often land on the oblique railway, where they then join criminal gangs.
Our local partner organization, which has been providing humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugees in Lebanon for many years, has accepted this problem and recently opened its own school in Beirut. With the aim of keeping the children away from violence and exploitation and integrating them into the education system. They also support hundreds of families with monthly food packages and rent the apartments. ARAMAIC RELIEF attended this school and spoke with the families. We have laid the foundations for long-term cooperation in order to counteract this problem together.
NOW WE WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF SYRIAN WARS
In the third and last week, we went to Syria with representatives of the local church community. From Beirut we headed towards Damascus, the heavily contested capital of Syria. I was already in Damascus last summer 2014, much has not changed since then. Every few kilometers there are military checkpoints. No car is left without control. In the distance you can hear detonations, because the front is not far from the city center. We did not focus on humanitarian aid for internally displaced war invaders. It is lacking at all ends, the need is greater than ever. We visited other areas that were not spared the terror of this brutal war. On the way between the fronts to Homs, “the cradle of rebellion”, it is the third largest city in Syria. She was fought for 2.5 years until she was freed by government troops. Today it is only a huge rubble heap. In a first action we supported numerous families with urgently needed relief supplies, housing and medical costs. We also visited the city of Sadad, where the biggest massacre of Christians had been committed since the outbreak of the war. Even today the inhabitants suffer from the bad consequences of the fighting around the idyllic small town. We have prepared about 10 long-term support programs, which we will introduce to you very soon. At the end of our trip we visited the famous village of Maalula …
ARAMAIC RELIEF supports families in Maalula, Syria
The strategically important Christian village Maalula west of the Syrian capital Damascus is traditionally a significant pilgrimage place with its early Christian churches and cave monasteries. The village is one of the few places where Aramaic is still spoken, the language of Jesus.
Maalula had been occupied by terrorists of the Nusra Front, 2013 several weeks. One week before Easter 2014, the town was recaptured by government troops. Numerous historical churches and monasteries were desecrated and devastated by the terrorists. Dozens of nuns were abducted and numerous inhabitants were killed. The people of Maalula still suffer from the consequences of the fighting to the significant village.
ARAMAIC RELIEF International visited the village of Maalula a few days ago. We were again confronted with a picture of unimaginable rage of destruction, not even pictures, statues and crosses were spared. The extent of the violent battles to the city is not to be overlooked. The people stand, for example, Still under shock. They told us how they had experienced the conquest of the village. Their stories keep us breathless. Today, they are faced with nothing, no work that destroys their own home, fear and grief are ubiquitous. They are urgently dependent on international aid. “We have no money to rebuild our apartments, so we sit in rented apartments, but can not even pay the rents, let alone the daily livelihood!” Tell us a resident of Maalula’s.
ARAMAIC RELIEF International supported 60 families with the necessary financial resources for their daily living. Long-term projects are also already being planned.