Syrian refugees: Solidarity in song

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It's all right to feel, even when it hurts.

Many refugee children don't know how to cope with traumatic memories. Meet Mohammed, who leads children in song at our Child-Friendly Space in Lebanon to help them learn how to express themselves.

He's expressing his own emotions, too.

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We heard “the singer” before we saw him.

Songs came out of Mohammed as naturally as water bubbling up from a spring—but louder.

A 33-year-old Syrian refugee, Mohammed leads activities for a group of refugee children in a World Vision Child-Friendly Space in Lebanon.    

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    The best people on Earth: Bravery and beauty in Iraq

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    World Refugee Day remembers those who have been forcibly displaced from their homes. Their number is staggering: almost 60 million. Today, one in every 122 people is a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum.

    But these people are more than just numbers. They are some of the most incredible people on earth, as World Vision writer Kari Costanza found in Iraq.

    ***

    I came home from Iraq feeling ashamed.

    For more than two decades, I have traveled to 35 countries to report stories for World Vision.

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      Syria: Yesterday, today, tomorrow

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      Meet Chandra and Dan Brissette: they lived in Damascus, Syria, while working with the Foreign Service from 2002 to 2004.

      In today’s Q&A, they talk about how much they loved pre-war Syria, why they were inspired last fall to help refugees of the Syrian crisis — by starting a fundraiser for socks! — and their hopes for Syria’s tomorrow.

      ***

      What was it like living in pre-war Damascus, Syria?

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        LIVE FROM IRAQ: A mother’s story

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        "As Christians, we smile."

        Our writer Kari Costanza is in Iraq right now. Just the other night, she had dinner with a mother, Rajaa, and her family who have been displaced by conflict.

        Meet this family with Kari, hear about their journey, and see what it's like to be a mother away from home.

        ***

        My mother is wonderful—smart, beautiful, and interesting—but she has a problem.

        She cannot resist chocolate.

        In high school, I brought home Mozart chocolates from Austria as a souvenir, a beautiful round candy, wrapped in gold foil with a picture of the young composer.

        I didn’t plan to eat it. I just wanted to keep it as a reminder of a spectacular trip.

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          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.

          ***

          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.

            ***

            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.

                ***

                "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.”

                  ***

                  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.

                    ***

                    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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