Since 2014 Danmission has been supporting the Orthodox Church in the Christian Valley (Wadi al-Nasara) in Syria. With the support from Danmission the church is providing relief work to internally displaced people inside Syria. The stories of the tragic destinies in the area bear witness of the importance of the work that Danmission is supporting.
One of the assistants in the relief office in the Diocese of the Christian Valley, Riham Halawi, met with some of the people in the Christian Valley and talked to them about their life conditions, current situation and urgent needs. Here is what they told her.
Amal is a 48-year-old woman. After getting married, she moved to the hometown of her husband, who was a construction worker. They had a boy and a girl but the family were very poor. One day the husband did something illegal, which changed the family’s life forever. He got arrested and Amal and the kids were thrown to the street with no home or money.
They went to the husband’s parents, but they did not welcome them. Amal and the children have been going through severe depression; they now live at the house of Amals mother. The psychological effect of the husband’s actions upon his family is enormous. The girl and the boy cannot move on and continue living their life normally; “We feel ashamed; we are the kids of a criminal“. Amal’s brother is the family’s only supporter.
Georget’s husband died at the age of 45. He left her with six kids, of whom three of them are suffering from psychological disorders. After the husbands dead Georget’s brother helped her until her oldest son was old enough to drop school and start working. Georget’s daughter also tried to support the family until she got married and left the house. The oldest son died in the war in Syria, three years ago, leaving his mother and siblings with no supporter.
Georget’s second daughter lost her husband in a car accident and moved back to her mother’s house with her two kids. They all live in an old house that needs a lot of maintenance works. The church and the people in the village help them. All of Georget’s children are now depending on medication for psychological disorders. Georget is suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. They live on the money provided to them by the people and the church.
Badia is an 80-year-old woman. Her son died in the war in Syria, leaving his parents broken. Badia lives with her husband, her son’s widow and kids in a small old house. The husband is paralyzed; he doesn’t leave his bed. Badia is looking after him. She is also looking after her son’s kids while their mother is at work; she is financially responsible for her in-laws and her kids. Badia had an open heart surgery two years ago, which left her weaker than before. Badia said: “When my son died, my heart broke into pieces. I was a hundred years older. There’s no worse curse than losing a child while you are still alive“.
Ahmad is a 50-year-old man. He is suffering from severe diabetes that led to his toes amputation, he is also 90% blind. He needs regular insulin doses that he cannot afford because of his extreme poverty. He doesn’t have a job. One of his kids, who is 12 years old, is suffering from concussion as a result of a fight with one of the kids in the neighborhood. They live in a rented house. Ahmad’s wife works at cleaning houses. But because his situation is very hard; he and his family are dependent on people’s help.
Distribution of medicine
All of these tragic stories emphasizes the severity of the situation in Syria and in the Christian Valley, which is one of the places, that are hosting a lot of internally displaced people. A new activity that Danmission is supporting in the Christian Valley is distribution of medicine. Riham works with the medicine distribution and she explains:
“We help those people with medicine for 3 months. Before they only received small help like food items or hygiene kits. We know that this is not enough regarding their growing needs and the circumstances and the situation of our country nowadays. Making a decent living is very difficult. People are broken from the inside, unemployment and poverty are everywhere. We try everything we can to support them hoping that no matter how small our work may be; it is making a difference in their lives.”
Riham and the team working with the relief work in the Diocese of the Christian Valley are very thankful for the support, that Danmission is providing: “Without the help of Danmission, our work won’t be as effective as it is now. Our deepest thanks to all the people who help and work with Danmission.”
In addition to the relief work, Danmission is also supporting the Orthodox Church in the Christian Valley by training some of the volunteers in the Family Center connected to the Church. The training is focusing on dialogue and conflict resolution. These activities are funded by The Danish Arab Partnership Programme (http://detarabiskeinitiativ.dk/english/).