Reaching out to refugees

Nahla used to live in Aleppo, Syria with her husband and six young children. They lived a healthy outdoor life as farmers until the war in Syria forced them to flee for their lives.

Now this young woman was opening the door of her gloomy, damp basement flat in a rundown tenement in Amman, Jordan, a refugee.

There was no furniture in the room, just some old foam mattresses and a thin carpet on the concrete floor. In the other room, Yasmina, 5 , was asleep. Her 3 year old sister Fatima was ill with a chesty cough.

A tiny damp alcove with one ancient sink served as a kitchen. Cooking was outside on an elderly gas fired stove. The family were heavily in debt, having to borrow money to survive. Her husband was trying to get some work illegally, the older children were scavenging in the streets for anything to re-sell.

Despite having nothing, with traditional Middle Eastern hospitality, she offered us tea and was offended when we refused, shamed by her generosity in the midst of her poverty. I was there with a humanitarian aid worker from IOCC, UK charity All We Can’s local partner, who were supporting Nahla with some cash for her rent. This was limited to just 3 months, for the funds had to be spread over so many other refugee families in need.

This was in 2015. Today there are over 634,000 registered refugees in Jordan, and many many more in Lebanon, Turkey and elsewhere, all, like Nahla, forced to leave their homes in Syria.

There is a real need to raise awareness of the continuing plight of refugees across the world among our churches, and in our communities. In this hostile environment we also need to work and talk with people of other faiths and no faith to bring about a kinder and more tolerant society.

I’m a minister in the Methodist Church, committed to working for those most in need, in partnership with All We Can and the churches and you! Read my Blog, and together let’s show a little love to others!

Go to the News page for the latest news and blog entries.