Accompanying the Yazidis April 19th was New Year Day for the Yazidis. It was a joy to meet with some of them in Sarsink in the Dohuk District of Iraq on that day, to greet them with a “Jajna ta Piroz” Each family had a tray laden with several bowls filled with cookies, boiled eggs (with their shells colourfully painted), candies and fruits (and for good measure, a packet of cigarettes too!). They happily shared these, with some soft drinks, to those who visited them.
There is a steely determination in Zozan. As one listens to this 25-year old woman, one cannot but feel that she will go places. In a very casual way, she shares what she would like to do most in life: to learn new languages and to travel to distant lands.
Fr. Frans Van Der Lugt was someone special: he was a complete human being. He was warm and compassionate to all; to the youth, he was an inspirer and motivator, who never tired of long walks; to the elderly, he was a friend and mentor; little children loved to cling to his long legs; for Muslims and Christians, he was a bridge-builder, a person who could draw the best out of them; for the spiritually weak and lost, he was a source of strength and a patient listener. He was a true shepherd, always in the midst of his sheep, who smelled of them.
Remarkable Randa! There is something remarkable about Randa! This courageous woman has braved all odds; over the years, she has seen and experienced hunger and deprivation; bombardments and suffering; destruction and death. Randa however, is not one to be defeated.
Row on Roula! “I want to do everything,” says Roula coyly but with a sense of determination. The ‘everything’ seems to be the mission statement of the life of this vibrant fourteen-year-old girl.
Erbil, 1 April 2017 - Avin has turned her back on the hate and violence, which she and her family have had to experience for a good part of the war in Syria since 2011. Avin was born and brought up in a Kurdish town of Qamishlo in north –east Syria, not far from the Turkish border. These past years have been very difficult for the inhabitants of the town.
Amman, 28 March 2017 - Al Marekh is a suburb of Amman in Jordan. Today it is home to several refugees from Palestine, Iraq, and Syria. Rentals for accommodation are not as high here as in the central areas of the city, but they keep escalating every year.
Al-Hussein, 24 March 2017 - ‘Aisha’ is a special name in the Arab world and has a range of meanings from ‘she who lives’ to ‘philosophical one’. When Aisha was born eighteen years ago in Homs in Syria, she was a gift to her parents. As she grew up, she had dreams and hopes for a good education, a happy family, and a comfortable and prosperous life.
Bourj Hammoud, 22 March 2017 – My name is Mariyam and I am from Syria. I was born on July 11th, 2000 in Idlib, Jisr El Shughour. I studied up to first grade in Idlib. I was very young when I had to leave my classes and my relatives to move to Damascus, Duma, because of my father’s work. We were surprised by what we found.
Damascus, 21 March 2017 - The capital of Syria, awoke this morning with a terrible explosion around 0500 hrs in the Joubar area of the city. Ever since, there has been heavy rocket and mortar attacks in the Al-Abbassyin square, Kassaa, Bab-Touma, Mazraa and Jaramana neighbourhoods of the city. As of now (9.30 am), we have unaware of the number of fatalities or of those injured, in this latest round of violence.
Jaramana, 20 March 2017 - Mahmoud seems to have seen it all in just about thirteen years of his earthly existence: war and violence, displacement and flight, rejection and loneliness, hard work and helplessness.
Jaramana, 17 March 2017 - They lived not far in Rural Damascus and had a comfortable life: a young couple with three children. He with a secure job, drawing a salary, which was able to provide for his family more than the basic amenities of life. She looked forward to a career in law, once the children had completed their schooling.
Baalbek, 15 March 2017 - It is a tragedy, which will forever remain etched in his memory. He narrates it as though it happened just yesterday. He recalls the exact date it took place in August 2013. Kassem was just about eight years old - like any other child in Syria, enjoying the fun and games, quite oblivious of the conflict, which had enveloped the lives of his family and the neighbours around.
Syria: Laila, art is in her heart Beirut, 21 December 2016 - Al- Zabadani is a beautiful and popular hill town in South western Syria not far from the Lebanon border. For almost five years now it has been a battleground between rebels and the Syrian Army. This picturesque town now stands ravaged with several of its inhabitants seeking refuge in other safer zones in Syria or in another country. Read More >>>
Syria: JRS serves displaced in Aleppo Beirut, 19 December 2016 — The situation in Aleppo continues to be a cause of great concern. The hostilities continue without ceasing. People continue to flee eastern Aleppo in large numbers. Ground reports inform us that internally displaced people — primarily women and children — flee with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing and with only a few essentials. Read More >>>
JRS Syria staff stand together in serving the displaced (Beirut) November 18, 2016 — The war in Syria has grabbed world headlines for almost six years now; the violence has killed and wounded thousands; millions have been made homeless: most of them displaced within Syria itself,while others have been forced to seek refuge in another country. Many towns and cities of Syria are destroyed beyond recognition. Read More >>>
Message from Fr. Michael Zammit SJ, Regional Director JRS MENA on JRS Foundation Day It is once again a SPECIAL day for all of us who belong to the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) family. We remember with much gratitude, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, a former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, who founded JRS on this day in 1980, as a response to the cries and plight of the ‘boat’ people, who were fleeing war and persecution in South- East Asia. The day also happens to be the 109th birth anniversary of Fr Arrupe. Read More >>>