Concrete action to support isolated Christians in northern Iraq!
At the beginning of the summer, Fraternity in Iraq was mobilizing to help forgotten Christians in northern Iraq. Four months later, thanks to your support, results are already there! Let us have a brief overview of the projects carried out.
For 2000 years, Christians have lived in the mountainous region of northern Iraq. After having welcome into their villages refugees from the Nineveh plain fleeing Daech, they have found themselves caught up in a conflict that exceeds them between Turkey and the PKK. Isolated, forgotten, they struggle to make their voices heard in order to receive help. Thanks to your mobilization, Fraternity in Iraq has been able to initiate several projects.
Sharanish: regular assistance is given to displaced people
Sharanish is a village that Fraternity in Iraq has been supporting since 2016. Fifteen Christian families have left in the last 9 months because it is regularly bombed and the situation still seems dangerous. They have found shelter in the neighbouring localities of Berseve, Hizawa and Zakho, for nearly nine months and their situation has improved since the last visits of the association’s volunteers. Yet they are still waiting to return home: if reconstruction is possible for the Muslim side of the village, it remains impossible for the Christian side, which is still being bombed.
Thus, the volunteers from Fraternity in Iraq, who were in mission in the region last November, organized a distribution of hygiene and food products to help these families to assume their daily lives. This is the third distribution since the bombardments drove these Christians out of their villages last March.
Now families need kerosene for the coming winter, which is harsh in these mountains, in order to survive December and January, the coldest months! It takes 600 litres for the whole winter.
Berseve: construction of a nursery school
One of these families found shelter in Berseve, where Fraternity in Iraq finances the construction of a nursery school. Once more dislodged during the building work, the father and mother will then work in the kindergarten, as soon as it opens. In a first building – now under renovation – there will be a refectory and an office, and an infirmary, a game room, classroom and a teachers’ room will be built in an extension. A courtyard is also under construction, as well as a garden and a garage at the entrance. The work is progressing well! When a team of volunteers passed through this summer, the foundations were dug, and in the fall, the walls of the expected extension were built!
The opening is planned for 2020: between 50 and 70 children from 3 to 5 years old will be welcomed in a fulfilling environment, and as many families in the region shall see their daily life be lighter!
Levo: a new classroom
A few kilometres away, in Levo, a classroom had been repainted; it is now the turn of the presbytery to make a new look: a room has been fully equipped to welcome visitors from Abuna Gabriel, a dynamic priest who manages a very active parish in this isolated village.
Hizawa and Nafkandal: buses to break isolation
After the emergency aid and the renovation of infrastructures, the other axis chosen by the Fraternity in Iraq to support isolated Christians is to open up their villages. Means of transport are limited, thus buses are a good option to connect villages to each other.
Thus, in November, the volunteers from Fraternity in Iraq bought a bus for the villages of Hizawa and Nafkandal. Indeed, the villages were in need for a bus for more than two years and this will greatly help the fifty or so families who live there to join together and take part in parish events among others. We visited six different bus dealers to find the right model: a mini-bus with a capacity of 12 people, second-hand but in good condition and of a reliable brand, within a reasonable budget. After a two-day trial, which proved successful, the purchase was sealed and immediately tested! The proof in pictures.
Thank you for your precious support, which allows us to take concrete action so that Christians in northern Iraq can keep on hoping to live with dignity in their villages. We still need you as winter approaches to help them heat up!