Help for Refugees and Traumatized People in the Philippines
For the local Bishop, Edwin de la Peña, dialogue and the rebuilding of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims are an absolute priority today. In May 2017, several hundred Islamist fighters besieged, occupied and almost destroyed the city of Marawi, which was already a center of the Muslim faith. They killed many people, took many hostages and extensively damaged the Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady. Most of the hostages taken were Christians.
For five months, the jihadists held Marawi in their power. Eventually the city was liberated by the government army, but the fighting caused still more devastation. Thousands of inhabitants were forced to flee the city, most of whom still live in tents or crowded in with relatives.
ACN provided emergency aid for the refugees during the conflict. Now there is an initiative to help those traumatized by the conflict. ACN is supporting a project run by the diocese, helping some 200 men, women and children who were held prisoner for months and subjected to physical and spiritual torment. They include many women, and even young girls, who were raped by their captors. Help is given to Christians and Muslims alike. Thanks to the kindness our benefactors, we were able to give $16,900 towards this project.
Another initiative organized by the local diocese is the “Youth for Peace” project, whereby 184 Christian and Muslim students go visiting the refugee camps, where tens of thousands of people who fled the city are still living. The students help the refugees, regardless of their religion, and so strive to witness to the fact that peaceful coexistence is still possible, even after the terrible events of 2017.
ACN has given $67,600 to help fund this project, as well.
Aid to the Church in Need commits to invest your funds where they will have the greatest impact for the Church that we serve. Funds donated to Aid to the Church in Need’s projects will be used towards the greatest need in our programs to help keep the Faith alive.