The best day of my life

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Children in Sierra Leone spent nine months out of school during the Ebola outbreak. When they returned, they did so with fear of the disease and coping with the loss of loved ones. Still, it was a day of hope and celebration.

See how World Vision continues to support the long-term recovery of children in Sierra Leone after Ebola, and experience their bittersweet return to school through their eyes.

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Eleven-year-old Millicent describes April 14, 2015 as “the best day of my life.”

That’s the day that schools officially reopened in Sierra Leone after a nine-month closure to help contain the spread of Ebola. The deadly virus claimed 3,955 lives across Sierra Leone, including 945 children. But last April, school bells rang again and children’s laughter could be heard on playgrounds across the country.

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    Rwanda and Syria: Food for thought

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    Peace in Rwanda is something of a miracle after the 1994 genocide. Now, the people are greater together with each other, World Vision, and God's love.

    Read how Rwanda's story of peace and reconciliation gives us hope for the people of Syria in crisis today.

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    Gazing over the infamous pool at the Hotel Des Mille Collines’ patio restaurant in Rwanda in September 2013, I reflected on the drama that had unfolded there.

    It was April 1994. One man, Paul Rusesabagina, had sheltered 1,200 people in the hotel, protecting them from certain death until the war ended 100 days later.

    Twenty years later, the atmosphere was serene as we enjoyed a leisurely lunch, the bright blue pool water swimming before our eyes in the warm African sun.

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      Syrian refugees: Taking action through prayer

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      Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Syrian Refugee Crisis, the greatest humanitarian crisis of our day. It's big, bigger than any one of us. And that's why we pray: because together, with God, we can accomplish anything.

      Today, join us in action on behalf of refugees … Join us in prayer.

      ***

      Half a world away, millions of Syrians are experiencing historic suffering. Indiscriminate violence threatens their children, their spouses, and their neighbors, leaving millions with no viable option but to run. More than 6 million have run from their homes to safer areas within Syria—only to find that the war changes and makes their new home as dangerous as their old one. More than 4 million have run from Syria altogether.

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        A welcome to strangers in Iraq

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        "I was a stranger and you welcomed me." –Matthew 25:35 (ESV).

        See how Christians in Iraq, displaced by conflict, are focused on surviving together as a community and finding refuge for their children and neighbors.

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        "I was a stranger and you welcomed me." –Matthew 25:35 (ESV).

        Jesus tells us this is one of the top criteria that God will use to judge our lives. If Jesus is right, Fr. Jens Petzold is a saint.

        After Syrians and Iraqis were kicked out of their homes by conflict, this desert monk opened his monastery on the Iran-Iraq border to 180 people displaced within Iraq.

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          Beyond human comprehension

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          In April of 1994, after decades of tension between the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups, the assassination of Rwanda’s Hutu president sparked the massacre of an estimated 800,000 people in a Hutu attempt to wipe out the minority Tutsi population. The genocide began in Rwanda’s capital of Kigali and quickly spread within the country, forcing millions to flee as refugees to neighboring countries.

          The genocide ended 100 days later in July when the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RFP) took over Kigali. They remain the political party in power today.

          Three World Vision staff members who spent time in Rwanda during and just after the genocide give their testimonies—stories of unbelief at the inhumanity, but also of how the 20-year transition to peace and forgiveness is “beyond human comprehension.”

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          John Schenk, videographer

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            Photos from Iraq: Overwhelmed by hope

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            Writer and photographer Christine Anderson recently traveled with us to Iraq, where she met baby Zaina and her family, who have been displaced by conflict.

            Journey with her to meet the people she encountered along the way, and see the hope she discovered there for Iraqis struggling to survive.

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            She immediately catches my eye, a bright pop of color in the gray courtyard. Her name is Zaina, which in Arabic means ornament, adornment, and beauty. Crowned with a sweet pink hat and seated on the throne of her red and yellow baby walker, this little one has no trouble living up to her name.

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              Three refugee sisters

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              “I take good care of them,” said 6-year-old Aaliya, a Syrian refugee living in Lebanon. “I’m the eldest, and my father told me to take care of my sisters.”

              See the story behind this powerful photo.

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              Photo: Taking advantage of the sunlight after a cold night, three inseparable sisters sit next to their tent, playing and getting warm in the sun. Six-year-old Aaliya (in red), 4-year-old Hasna (in black), and 1-year-old Amal are Syrian refugees living in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.

              Hasna paints her fingernails with dust mixed with water while Aaliya holds their infant sister in a blanket to keep her warm.

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                Refugee crisis: One-mile challenge

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                Can you imagine what it's like to be a refugee? To leave your home, carrying your only possessions, and travel on foot to a new land?

                Maybe you don't have to only imagine it. The One Mile Challenge gives you a glimpse as you walk a mile in a refugee's shoes while raising awareness and much-needed funding for relief.

                Learn more about how you can get involved.

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                About two months ago, the Syrian Refugee Crisis became every media outlet’s top story due to the tragic photos of a Syrian toddler on the coast of Turkey. Around that time, I found myself with a few of my close girlfriends and we were talking about how we felt so useless sitting in our safe, cozy homes with our children safely playing on the floor next to us. We wanted to do something to try to make a real difference.

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                  “I had no friends”

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                  For children affected by conflict and disaster, back-to-school season means getting back to basics: making friends, feeling safe.

                  See how 15-year-old Deng in South Sudan found friendship and safety … and is able to keep his dreams alive.

                  ***

                  For me, back-to-school season has always been a bit of a nightmare.

                  Tension builds in July when the back-to-school supplies begin their blockade of the supermarket aisles.

                  I know the kids need these supplies. My sister is a teacher. She always has to supplement her classroom with necessities, paying from her own pocket.

                  It’s just the variety that confounds me.

                  Glue or glue sticks? Lead or mechanical pencils?

                  The thickness of binders—is 1 inch too thin? So many colors.

                  And college- versus wide-ruled paper has always thrown me for a loop.

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                    Rain could soon turn to snow

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                    Our photographer Laura Reinhardt returned from Serbia this week, where she was meeting refugees and capturing their experiences as they passed through.

                    Written last Friday: see Serbia through her eyes, the current conditions in which these refugees are living, and the cold, damp future Laura sees in store for them.

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                    It rained last night in Belgrade. For most of the city’s residents, that weather front signaled that autumn was on its way. But for the refugees and migrants staying in the parks of Serbia’s capital city, the rain meant a miserable and cold night out in the elements.

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