On the Road to Damascus
“I remember the sweet moments in my city when the snow was falling just before Christmas 2013. Looking out through my window our children, with their new hats and gloves, playing excitedly in the snow.
In wasn’t long after that, as the children were getting ready for school that everything changed. The phone rang and a friend warned us not to leave the house as ‘Daesh’ (ISIS) were in the streets nearby.
Refugees on the move
In search of safety & security
When someone chooses to flee their homes to escape the terrors of war, this is not an easy choice. To leave everything they have known and worked for, for an uncertain future. For many of them the decision to flee is just the beginning of their traumatic journey to safety and so often the conditions that they are met with are far from providing them with the shelter and supplies that they need to survive.
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When I learnt about the horrible situations faced by Iraqi and Syrian children in refugee camps, with no access to education and at risk of exploitation, I knew I needed to get my community, my university, involved. At GAiN we partner with local communities in this country, to make sure that people living in these camps can have hope for their future by meeting their needs today.
Early in July our project team once again went to Cluj-Napoca for the third year running. A team of 12, made up of students and recent graduates, spent 10 days working alongside the local project staff who are focused on changing the future prospects for the next generation of Roma gypsy children living next to the city rubbish dump. Emanuel who was returning with the team for the second time shares his impressions of the project.
On 7th April, our group of nine volunteers with Agapé Student Life came from across the UK to Thessaloniki, to join the GAiN project not knowing fully what to expect. We arrived to a former army airfield, and the first thing we saw was a children’s playpark, something that none of us expected. As we began a quick tour, it was clear that the children were the life and soul of the camp – and often a source of much entertainment.
Nearly six years of war in Syria has left 6.3 million people displaced and 470,000 have lost their lives. It can be hard to make sense of the individual impact in the face of abstract numbers. In the last few weeks one of our team was able to spend time with people whose lives have been forever changed by this conflict. Amira* shares in her own words both the trauma and triumph of continuing to live one day at a time.
More than 148,000 people have now been displaced, according to UN Two and a half years of atrocities, the rules and the imposed way to live their lives still in their eyes and minds, and the sound of bombings and gunfire is still fresh in their ears. Our disaster team visited one of the 25 day old camps and distributed packages of clothing, baby food and tea to more than 1,500 families. The clothes are desperately needed because the temperature drops at night to zero degrees Celsius
Every piece of clothing, every blanket, every care pack we can give is another piece of love shared with those who need it most. We want to thank every single person who was part of our recent Iraq Winter Relief appeal , it couldn’t have happened without you.