Every night, Ramola prays for peace in her country, hoping that everything “goes back to normal.” With that in mind, she tells the toddlers of the house about the life they once had, about the happy life they once shared in Syria, but she won’t hide the truth as to why they had to flee.
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“We’ve heard so many stories of how they got here … the hardships they went through. Many today behave as though they’re still at war. The games they play are violent, aggressive. They sometimes hit each other, pretend to have guns. At the beginning, they’d refuse to take part in games such as dancing, because they wanted action, to play war.”
Longer-term, however, Debiani has a bigger dream: Attracting foreign support to help the women of El-Kaa to open their own food service business, drawing on a local tradition of excellence in the kitchen. With approximately $100,000, she thinks she could supply jobs for about 50 women, helping then supplement their household incomes. In her eyes, providing such opportunities is key to maintaining the Christian presence here.
Though slowly the world is waking up to the genocide perpetrated against Christians, Yazidis and other minorities in Syria and Iraq, it’s worth remembering that in terms of raw numbers, Muslims are the most affected by the violence perpetrated by terrorist Islamic groups such as Daesh (ISIS).
They too are living in housing subsidized by Aid to the Church in Need, paying roughly $300 a month in rent for a two-room home, which includes a kitchen, accommodating four people. Mountanha emphasized how much different the support from Aid to the Church in Need and the local Greek Melkite church makes. “Without it, we would be crying tears of blood,” she said.