Living in a conflict zone

Post Summary: 

As humanitarian development work makes progress against poverty, extreme poverty is receding into the margins: places where disasters, conflict, and other causes push communities from being resilient to vulnerable.

See what it's like to grow up and work in conflict zones first-hand from one of our aid-workers in Iraq.

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My first taste of what it feels like to live in a conflict zone was in the 70s, growing up in Mindanao, the Philippines’ southernmost island, which has been plagued by conflict for more than 300 years between different separatist and militant groups. Over time, the players in the conflict have changed, but the struggle continues. I have lived in a conflict zone for all 50 years of my life.

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    South Sudan: An invitation to pray

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    After a severe famine in 1998 and a 2011 war for independence, the people of the new South Sudan remain in extreme vulnerability through renewed conflict and food insecurity.

    On Sunday, our writer/photographer team Kari Costanza and Jon Warren fly to Juba to visit our work among the families displaced by conflict.

    See what they're expecting and hoping to find on this visit, and how you can help support them.

    ***

    In 1998, it felt as if the world was falling apart. Kosovo was at war—a war that would cost more than 13,000 lives. Hurricane Mitch had pummeled Honduras and Nicaragua, taking 19,000 more. Southern Sudan was gripped in famine and the death toll was devastating. More than 70,000 men, women, and children died of starvation.

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      Syrian children: “The future depends on us”

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      Growing up in conflict, displaced, and as refugees, the children of Syria have become a vulnerable generation—at risk of being lost altogether—without access to the things they need to be successful in life.

      The future doesn't belong only to the children who grow up in peace.

      It belongs to every child.

      ***

      Missing school takes its toll. On Monday, my 14-year-old daughter, Shelby, called me from school as I was driving to work. She’d thrown up. I turned around, picked her up, got her home and into bed. I missed meetings.

      My day was in a tailspin. And, as mothers do, I worried. Shelby worried, too. How long would she be sick? How would she make up her missed schoolwork and exams?

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        The faces that stay with you

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        13-year-old Oujelan. Ghaziyye and her twin girls. 4-year-old Saad, who's forgotten how to play—these are some of the faces that have stayed with today's writer, Lauren Fisher, who visited Lebanon a year ago.

        Today, Lauren reflects on the people she met and celebrates the ways that World Vision's work with the Syrian refugees has helped them and many more, and continues.

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        I met 13-year-old Oujelan (shown below) at the end of his workday, his hands covered in clay and callouses from picking fruit for 12 hours straight. He used to be a star student, his achievements celebrated with certificates covered in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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          Syria: Refugees in winter

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          World Vision’s Sevil Omer recently traveled to the Middle East, serving with our Syria crisis response, based in Amman, Jordan. She shares insights and the latest from our work providing winter relief to the most vulnerable affected by Syria’s conflict: Children.

          Join us as we partner with One Day's Wages to double your ability to help children and families displaced by conflict in Syria and Iraq! For every dollar you give to One Day's Wages' World Vision campaign, they will match, up to $50,000.

          ***

          The day dawned gunmetal gray and the cold shook me awake as I walked down a peaceful street in Gaziantep, a city in south eastern Turkey near the Syrian border.

          A man wearing a black painter’s brush moustache and crisp white uniform opened the door to a baklava shop, delivering a warm aroma of butter and honey into the air. Across the street, a Turkish mother chased after her son, lecturing him on the need for his jacket to ward off December’s chill.

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            Syrian refugees: Four years in crisis

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            This week, we're partnering with One Day's Wages to double your ability to help children and families displaced by conflict in Syria and Iraq! For every dollar you give to One Day's Wages' World Vision campaign, they will match, up to $50,000.

            Today, read where the past four years of crisis have taken the people of Syria and World Vision's journey to assist them, then give and watch it be doubled!

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            Over the past four years of the Syrian Refugee Crisis (we’ll mark the anniversary on March 15th), more than half of all Syrians have been displaced within or left their country.

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              Raising a family after disaster

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              Bellanda was 10 years old when the 2010 earthquake struck Haiti. Afterward, she and her family are still able to pursue their big dreams for the future:

              “I want to be a children’s doctor one day because I like babies,” Bellanda said.

              See how World Vision's programs in the quake's aftermath set this family on the road to recovery.

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              After the earthquake that shook Haiti five years ago, Bellanda—10 years old then—and seven members of her family left their broken home near Port-au-Prince and moved into a World Vision camp for internally displaced persons.

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                Day 25: Baby Jesus, child refugee

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                Merry Christmas!

                Today we celebrate Jesus' birth. Soon after the first Christmas, Jesus himself and his parents became refugees in Egypt, fleeing King Herod.

                Today, Rich Stearns—president of World Vision USA—reflects on refugees, then and today, our spiritual exile from God, and the longing for us all to come home.

                ***

                One of the most striking things about Jesus’ birth—in poverty and amidst suffering—are the parallels between his world and the world today where so many are still suffering. This year I’ve been reflecting on Jesus as a refugee.

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                  Day 6: A second typhoon in the midst of healing

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                  Typhoon Hagupit is making landfall in the Philippines right now, in a region that is still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan 13 months ago.

                  Blogger Matthew Paul Turner was with us in Tacloban just 4 weeks ago and witnessed the devastation of the last storm, the fragility of many people's current living situations, and the rebuilding efforts now threatened by this new storm.

                  See how World Vision is preparing, and how you can help.

                  ***

                  On November 8, I walked the streets of Tacloban City in the Philippines, photographing a candlelight vigil to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan’s deadly rage. With more than 100,000 people participating in the memorial, it was an emotional experience to behold.

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                    Q&A: Winter in Iraq

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                    Photo: Iraqi children Oulah, 5, and Zareh, 7, play cat's cradle with a piece of twine. While children often claim that their greatest needs are toys, their parents' priority is preparing for the fast-approaching winter in which temperatures will drop below freezing, and many are protected only by tarpaulins. (©2014 Mark Kate MacIsaac/World Vision)

                     

                    Chris Palusky, a vice president here at World Vision, recently traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan to meet displaced families, aid workers, government officials, and church leaders.

                    Today, Chris answers a few questions about his visit and provides an update on the needs of families far from home, and World Vision’s response to this crisis in northern Iraq.

                    ***

                    During his trip, an Iraqi father named Hazem told Chris of his family’s ordeal. “We had a choice to either flee or be killed,” the father of four said. From Mosul, his family walked for five days until they found a place to stay where they would be safe from violence. Now they’re in Dohuk, facing another danger: a cold, wet winter.

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