SYRIA—Staggering figures continue to increase since the Syrian conflict began in 2011. Canadian Global Response has been actively working in Syria and neighbouring countries, bringing humanitarian aid to refugees and education to children through partnering organizations. Three in every four Syrians lived in poverty at the end of 2013, with more than half the population (54.3 per cent) living in extreme poverty, only able to secure the most basic food and non-food items required for the survival of their households. (Source: UN)
On our anniversary, my wife and I were strolling down the main street of Beirut. We saw a Syrian refugee family sitting on the curb with two little children and a mother nursing the third—her baby. It was dark and they obviously had no home to go to.
We walked past them, stopped, looked at each other and without saying anything turned around and went back. I sat beside the father, who looked thin and worn, and asked when they’d come to Beirut. We greeted the young, timid mother in broken Arabic, “Merhaba.” They had arrived from Aleppo only ten days earlier. As we sat and chatted they began to relax. The children; ages five years, three years, and five months, started to smile too.
What struck me most was their dignity amidst such an unimaginable circumstances! She wouldn’t let us hold her baby; but wanted to make sure we understood why—she had no diapers to change her. We took them to buy some food and diapers; but not before the mother made sure the kids picked up their garbage on the curb. Their little girl Susu held my hand as we walked.
I promised myself to tell their story… sadly, there are close to three million Syrian refugees with a similar story.
We saw them in the same spot the next night. When we stopped to talk, others gathered around and we were able to observe natural community connections. One guy worked at a local mall and was sure the father could apply for a job, while another knew of a low-cost apartment, and others gave money on the spot. They ensured the family would not be there the next night.Reflecting on the blessings in our life, we decided it was the best anniversary ever!
Would you please help us to bring a smile and joy to many people in need in our world today? Wishing you all the blessings, as you bless others!
—Abraham Shepherd (2016)
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