Emergency help for the winter, and Christmas gifts for Iraqi and Syrian refugees
Thanks to your kindness, thousands of uprooted Iraqi Christians will have access to food, housing, even schooling–just in time for winter. These families have at last been able to leave their makeshift shelters in camps, public buildings, and especially schools, where they were crowded together, sometimes 20 people to a room.
Many have taken refuge in Ankawa, near the regional capital of Erbil, or further north in the region of Dohuk, close to the Turkish frontier. It is months now since they were forced to leave their homes with little more than the clothes on their backs, when the Islamist terrorists of ISIS moved in and took over the city of Mosul and the surrounding towns and villages in the plain of Niniveh.
Among other relief goods, ACN also prepared Christmas gifts for some 15,000 children, consisting of warm clothes (coats and socks), crayons, coloring books, religious articles and Child‘s Bibles ($349,600). Father Halemba, the head of the ACN projects section for this region, explains: “This ancient Christian community, which dates back to biblical times, is in danger of disappearing forever. They have already suffered so much. Now we have a unique opportunity to help them with what they need to get through the winter.”
The Chaldean archbishops Bashar Warda of Erbil and Amel Nona of Mosul have thanked all the benefactors of ACN. Archbishop Nona, who was among the 500,000 people forced to flee in June from the forces of ISIS, is now in charge of the bishops' emergency committee for coordinating the aid relief effort.
He wrote: “I am personally grateful to ACN–you have given us new hope.” The archbishop has called on all people to pray for Iraq. “Please pray for the safety of our people and that no one else will be murdered by the terrorists. And we must also pray for those who are persecuting us and for an end to the evil that seems so strong at this moment.”
In Syria, too, the children will be getting a Christmas gift, thanks to your generosity. They needed warm clothing and blankets for the winter, but their parents were empty-handed. Thanks to your help, ACN was able to give $173,200 so that Father Ziad could provide 5,000 children in Homs and Marmarita with a Christmas gift, consisting of warm pants, a pullover, a woolen hat, a little Christmas crib together with the Christmas story and a little Bible. They will be treasured by these children in their bombed-out homes and will perhaps for a time drown out the thunder of the guns.
And perhaps their parents’ eyes, too, lit up again, for the first time in a long while…