A guest blog from associate partners, Embrace the Middle East …
Salwa is 43 years old and comes from the city of Manbej in northern Syria, not far from the Turkish border. She fled to Lebanon last year, because she feared for the lives of her children.
Salwa now lives in a poor area in Beirut, a far cry from the life she enjoyed 300 miles away in her hometown in Syria. She was a primary school teacher and ran her own tailoring business; her family owned a house and land.
But then the war started. ‘Then it became all black,’ Salwa says.
Salwa and her children hid in their home as the war raged. Schools were closed, and teachers were forbidden from teaching. It became harder and harder to find affordable food. Worse still, Salwa’s children witnessed first-hand the brutal deaths of neighbours and friends.
One of Salwa’s sons, nine-year-old Ahmed, remains deeply traumatised after seeing a man decapitated. Her other son, Jawad, witnessed his grandfather being flogged for smoking cigarettes. The courageous 10-year-old offered himself to be flogged in his place.
Now, living in Beirut, Salwa says, they feel safe.
Salwa and her family have been helped by a local health and education centre, which is located in the urban slum where they live. The Embrace-funded centre gave the family blankets, mattresses and clothes.
But more than this, they have given Salwa hope.
Embrace supporters have so far paid for over 1,000 blankets to be distributed to refugee households. This included 500 blankets that were hand-sewn by Syrian refugee women – including Salwa – as part of an income-generation project.
Each woman made $500 US dollars which benefitted Salwa’s whole family, not to mention boosted her confidence. ‘I feel like I found a family that I can lean on,’ Salwa says. ‘There are people here I can trust.’
Our partners are also helping her children get back into education through their non-formal schooling programme. The family has also benefitted from medical assistance and ongoing support from a social worker and psychologist.
Projects like these help ‘sew’ hope for Salwa and her family, as well as investing in future generations.
That is why we continue to support and offer prayers for organisations like these working tirelessly to bring hope to refugees facing unimaginable circumstances, and so many other fantastic Embrace partners like them.
Later this year, we’re launching The Embrace Prayer Box inviting people to explore a deeply empathic connection with refugees – and the response God is calling us to make – from the loving and hope-filled context of a prayerful, Jesus-focused perspective.
For more on the work Embrace do in supporting people like Salwa, click here.