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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One of our UK volunteers, Katie Lowe, recently attended our disaster response training in Latvia and shares about her experience. “For me personally, DART was so much more than the actual training itself. I developed practically, socially, relationally, spiritually and mentally. I have never before felt every value, goal and practical action that I aspire to, so closely mirrored by an organisation and group of people. To see unconditional love actioned so tangibly and professionally was a privilege. I left the training with confidence in my skills and 20 new friends.’
The crisis of migrants travelling to Europe has hit the headlines in recent weeks as they desperately seek to find refuge away from a war zone that was once their homeland.
What is it that pushes people to extremes, taking their lives in their hands as they seek safety in another land?
We often think of poverty in material terms, our teams recent visit to Romania saw how a lack of purpose can add to the depth of poverty. Working with a Roma community who make a livelihood from whatever rubbish they can sell. The closure of the city dump they rely on was an even bigger impact on their day to day survival.
On April 25th, a powerful 7.8 earthquake devastated Nepal. Our in-country partners who were already working in Nepal have been responding ever since the earthquake, bringing immediate relief to those in desperate need. The figures continue to tell of the scale of the disaster with over 8,300 people known to have been killed in the earthquake and following aftermath.
Over 4,500 people are now known to have died. As rescue teams sift through the debris and reach remote mountainous areas, the death toll is expected to rise. More than 6,500 people have been injured and dozens of people have been killed in neighbouring China and India. Thousands have lost their homes and their belongings. The real immediate concern is infrastructure, water and electricity for the survivors. Fear is widespread as the aftershocks continue, making it impossible to re-enter homes and buildings.
Our partners have been working within Kurdistan to respond to the physical and emotional needs of the Christian & Yezidi communities who were forced to flee their homes in the wake of the violence. “For me it was such an encouragement to see how our partners are working hard to meet the ongoing physical needs of the families as well as building relationships with them in the midst of their loss.”