My encounter with a child of Syria

Post Summary: 

For three years, too many innocent people in Syria have suffered — above all, the #childrenofSyria. They have seen homes, schools, and hospitals destroyed. They have borne the brunt of indiscriminate violence and witnessed unspeakable abuse. Millions have been forced to flee, while millions more are trapped inside Syria in horrific conditions.

Join World Vision, Save the Children, Mercy Corps, UNICEF, and UNHCR in preventing a lost generation of Syrian children. Sign our petition here.

Today, Meg Sattler, World Vision's communications manager for the Syria crisis response, describes meeting one of these children of Syria — a girl whose laughter would give way to tears without warning.

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Today, a 15-year-old girl showed me a film of her bombed and ransacked house. She held her phone out in front of me, hands quivering slightly, and room by room I was taken on a shaky, somewhat pixilated tour of her family home. Heaps of clothes, papers, and trinkets covered dusty carpets amid overturned furniture. Here and there, a wall was blown out, sunshine streaming in where it didn’t before.

“That is my mum and dad’s room,” she told me. The camera zoomed into an open drawer, where family photos were strewn about. A lifetime of memories, rearranged.

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    Bath time brings tears

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    Lauren Fisher, World Vision emergency communications officer, writes about meeting Ghaziyye and her twin girls, age 4, who are living as refugees in Lebanon.

    What brought this mother to tears wasn't the violence or fear or having lost everything; it was that her girls were always dirty. Read how a simple provision from World Vision has wiped away those tears.

    ***

    It wasn’t the war, the lack of food, or even her new home — a tent of sheet plastic — that brought the tears. It was the thought of not being able to give her children a bath that made Ghaziyye turn away, quickly wiping her eyes, embarrassed.

    “I used to bathe them twice every day,” she said, gently running her hand over the ruffled and dirty hair of her twin girls, age 4. “Everything is different. Everything, everything.”

    It’s hard to explain how drastic a change it is. You don’t quite know where to start.

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      Everything

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      Hear the voices of Syrian refugee children:

      An 8-year-old Syrian boy named Hamze, who is living as a refugee in Lebanon, answers the question, "What do you miss about home?"

      And a video: children answer the question, "What does peace mean?"

      ***

      What do you miss about home?

      “Everything.”

      What’s different about your home in Syria, and your home here [in Lebanon]?

      “Curtains. We had curtains in our house in Syria. Here, it is a tent.”

      Hamze, 8, has fond memories of playing football with his friends at home in Syria. He also has loving memories of his father, whom they have lost contact with. His mother fears the worst, telling us that this is out of character for him.

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        Why should Christians care about Syria?

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        In today’s blog, we ask a variety of Christian thought leaders why we as Christians should care about the conflict in Syria, a crisis that day to day often feels very far from us. Or someone else’s problem.

        Hear what seven writers have to say about this question, including bloggers Ron Edmondson and Matthew Paul Turner, and our very own president, Rich Stearns.

        ***

        Rich Stearns, World Vision U.S. president

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          South Sudan conflict: Left in danger

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          Medina and Margret are just two among hundreds of thousands in South Sudan who have been driven from their homes by the fighting that escalated last month. Left with little in a disrupted economy, they want to take their families away from the conflict but can’t afford to, leaving them to seek sanctuary wherever they can. Read the story of these two families, and learn what World Vision is doing to help.

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          Medina Hilary, 18, has spent four days in the Catholic Church compound after being uprooted by fear and insecurity from her home in Lologo, a suburb of Juba, South Sudan. Seated with her 1-year-old son on a mat, Medina has been running into the church because of fighting between the army of South Sudan and opposition forces within Juba town.

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            Five things you need to know about Syria's refugee crisis

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            Now in its third winter, the toll of the Syrian refugee crisis continues to rise. Here are five facts you should know about this crisis, and what World Vision is doing to help.

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            Later this month, international peace talks are scheduled to convene to seek a political solution to the conflict in Syria. The aim of the conference is for the Syrian government and its opposition to sign on to a plan for a transitional government leading to elections.

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              The Apple of my eye

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              Today marks two months since Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. After the storm, World Vision communicator Annila Harris visited survivors and met sponsored child Apple, whose family is benefiting from World Vision relief supplies. The way this little girl cared for her baby sister, Roalyn, taught Annila that even when a disaster takes away almost everything, the most important thing in life is still family.

              ***

              Looking up at the clear blue sky, it was hard to picture the pouring rain and surging winds on the day that Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines.

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                Aid worker’s blog: Each other’s miracle

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                Wednesday marks two months since Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines, causing immense devastation and loss of life. World Vision quickly mobilized more than 200 local staff members to help reach almost 400,000 survivors with relief operations.

                Today, Florence, one of our team members on the ground, reflects on the past two months and the amazing love and hope she has felt from around the world as we all became each other’s miracle.

                ***

                This is the Filipino spirit. I’ve seen this in the families I’ve talked to, and I have heard these lines from the many parents who still manage to smile despite their losses.

                Typhoon Haiyan undeniably brought devastation in its most gruesome face. I can tell you hundreds of these stories. Being part of the communications team, I get the chance to talk to people, listen to mothers cry, empathize with fathers’ fears, and feel for children who are adjusting.

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                  Day 16: Share a meal

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                  World Vision is sharing joy across the United States by providing Family Food Kits to people who are going hungry because of natural disasters, homelessness, or job loss. Learn more with today’s video.

                  ***

                  Today’s challenge: Share a meal with a friend (or invite a friend over).

                   

                  “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” —1 John 4:7 (NIV)

                   

                  Shipping love to the hungry

                  In 2010, the United States had the second-highest rate of childhood poverty among the 25 wealthiest industrialized nations. Across America, families go hungry every day because of natural disasters, unemployment, or homelessness.

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                    Memories of Tacloban

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                    Chris Weeks, from World Vision United Kingdom, describes his first experience of the devastated city of Tacloban in the Philippines. Now two weeks after the storm hit, relief efforts are well underway and reaching the survivors that need them while the people of Tacloban are finding the strength to begin rebuilding their city.

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                    My sole memories of Tacloban are from the last 24 hours. Anyone who’s seen the city, two weeks after Typhoon Haiyan ferociously tore it to the ground, will never forget it.

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