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Raising

Hope

June 2017

God • World • Human Family • Church

Molding Minds, Hearts and Souls in Ethiopia Caring for India’s Vulnerable Children Welcoming the Children of Strangers to Israel Delivering Compassion in Armenia


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Head of the Class Catholic schools set the standard in Ethiopia text by Emeline Wuilbercq photographs by Petterik Wiggers

FEATURES

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Hardship and Hospitality One city in Lebanon copes with refugees text and photographs by Raed Rafei

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The Secret of Their Success Youth benefit from Catholic programs in India text and photographs by Don Duncan

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Found in Translation Caring for the children of migrants and refugees text by Michele Chabin photographs by Ilene Perlman

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‘This Is the Only Light’ Serving young and old among the poor by Gayane Abrahamyan

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Escaping Syria Web Exclusive Refugees find a home and hope through Caritas Armenia by Gayane Abrahamyan

DEPARTMENTS

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Connections to CNEWA’s world Focus on the world of CNEWA

Sister Rosanna Ghisla plays with a child in the care of the St. Rachel Center in Jerusalem.

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Volume 43 NUMBER 2

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We’re there when help is needed You’re with us every step of the way 18 Front: Abba Berhanu Woemago walks with students at the Abba Pascal Catholic Girls’ School in Soddo, Ethiopia. Back: A young girl attends the Little Prince Center in Artashat, Armenia. Photo Credits Front cover, pages 12-17, Petterik Wiggers; pages 2, 3 (far right), 24-29, Ilene Perlman; page 3 (top), CNS photo/Paul Haring; pages 3 (upper left), 18-22, Don Duncan; pages 3 (upper right), 6, 8-11, Raed Rafei; pages 3 (lower left), 30-31, 33-35, back cover, Nazik Armenakyan; pages 3 (lower right), 36-39, John E. Kozar/CNEWA; page 4, Christopher Kennedy; page 32, Michael J.L. La Civita. Publisher Msgr. John E. Kozar Editorial Staff Paul Grillo Deacon Greg Kandra Michael J.L. La Civita Elias Mallon, S.A., Ph.D. J.D. Conor Mauro Timothy McCarthy

40 ONE is published quarterly. ISSN: 1552-2016 CNEWA Founded by the Holy Father, CNEWA shares the love of Christ with the churches and peoples of the East. CNEWA works for, through and with the Eastern Catholic churches to identify needs and implement reasonable solutions. CNEWA connects you to your brothers and sisters in need. Together, we build up the church, affirm human dignity, alleviate poverty, encourage dialogue — and inspire hope. Officers Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Chair and Treasurer Msgr. John E. Kozar, Secretary Editorial Office 1011 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022-4195 1-212-826-1480 www.cnewa.org ©2017 Catholic Near East Welfare Association. All rights reserved. Member of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.

Thank you for helping CNEWA do a world of good

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connections

to CNEWA’s world

Remembering Our Donors

CNEWA President Msgr. Kozar and development associate Philip Eubanks, left, stand with six students who spearheaded Relief United — Jane Singman, Nicholas Sinopoli, Lily McHale, Michael Mauguin, Michal Kozlowski and Gibran Mourani — and Christopher O’Hara at Mr. O’Hara’s New York event. CNEWA has been privileged to serve so many around the world through the generosity of our donors and benefactors. Recently we were reminded of that generosity and the tremendous good will that so many have brought to our work. In late April, a group of high school students in New York put together a unique fundraising event to support CNEWA’s work with the people of Syria. Dubbed “Relief United,” the picnic and benefit concert in Westchester County, New York, raised close to $20,000, with all proceeds going directly to support CNEWA’s activities with Syrians in need. The project was the idea of Michal Kozlowski, a student at Regis High School in New York City, who started planning the event last year and enlisted other teenagers to take part.

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of his recent visits to the Middle East and spoke particularly about the plight of refugees in Lebanon In April, Education and Opportunities for Lebanon (E.O.L.) hosted their 8th Annual Fundraising Dinner at the Lebanese Taverna in McLean, Virginia. E.O.L. funds a variety of CNEWA’s school programs and projects throughout Lebanon — including offering hearing aids for students at Father Roberts Institute, one of Lebanon’s only schools for hearing-impaired children; new computers for several schools in some of the country’s poorest villages; and a science lab at the Antonine Sisters’ School in the Bekaa Valley.

You can watch a video report of the event at www.cnewablog.org/web/fundraiser.

Finally, seminarians from St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York, made a generous donation to CNEWA at the seminary’s convocation in May. CNEWA President Msgr. John E. Kozar attended the event, whose speaker was Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

For the second year in a row, one young man and his family helped organize a fundraiser for CNEWA at Gallagher’s Steakhouse in New York City. In May, Christopher O’Hara, a student at Georgetown University, and his parents, Chris and Kelly O’Hara, welcomed dozens of guests to a reception, where CNEWA president Msgr. John E. Kozar shared stories

We are profoundly humbled by the love and commitment of so many, who make it possible for our partners to serve as the hands and face of Christ to our suffering brothers and sisters around the world — especially the sick, the outcast and the poor. We are forever thankful. Know that our donors remain always in our prayers, and in the grateful prayers of those we serve.

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OUR WEBSITE onemagazinehome.org OUR BLOG cnewablog.org The Christian Exodus The migration of Christians in the Middle East over the last several years — owing to the war in Syria, the rise of ISIS, and ongoing political upheaval in the region — has had a profound impact on the region. The cultures and countries that are the very cradle of Christianity are seeing the faith disbursed and displaced. But hard and reliable statistics on this movement of peoples have been elusive — until now. Drawing on diverse statistics and resources, CNEWA has compiled what amounts to a definitive snapshot of Christianity in the region today. It is available as a multimedia presentation at: www. onemagazinehome.org/web/ exodus, along with a brief video introduction by CNEWA president Msgr. John E. Kozar. We encourage you to visit the site and see for yourself how recent events have affected parts of CNEWA’s world — and, indeed, will continue to affect all of us who care about our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. ‘Witnessing Love’ in Egypt Following Pope Francis’ historic visit to Egypt, we received a letter from one of our partners, the Rev. Shenouda Shafik Andrawes Khalil, rector of St. Leo the Great Coptic Catholic Patriarchal Seminary in Cairo. He was deeply moved by the visit and wrote: “I was amazed at this man’s resilience. … His beautiful, gentle smile was a noble message that brings relief and peace to all who were able to capture it. … Witnessing such a great love made me seek from the Lord the grace of living my daily life as a priest.” The pope’s visit brought hope to so many in Egypt after the recent church bombings, and reminded us

of the great work still to be done. Among many projects in Egypt, CNEWA is helping to build and repair a number of schools in the region; we are also continuing to support formation of seminarians and providing care for children, including those with special needs, at a number of Catholic orphanages. Dignity for Women In May, CNEWA received a brief update on a remarkable project we are privileged to support in Ethiopia: the Meki Kidist Mariam Skill Training Center. The center is located in the parish compound of Meki Kidane Mehret Catholic Cathedral, about 140 miles south of Addis Ababa. As our regional director Argaw Fantu in Ethiopia notes:

“In the town of Meki are many women who not only care for their homes and their children, but often they are the breadwinners for the family. Despite this, they have less status then men. “To improve this situation, Bishop Abraham Desta of Meki has invited the community of St. Paul Lay Missionaries to do something as a church for these desperate women. With the creative engagement of Maria Jose Morales, administrator of the training center, many women are now receiving training in hairdressing, cooking, sewing and running a women’s cooperative. “CNEWA support is supporting their efforts, to accompany the service of the church in Meki for these needy women.”

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There is more to discover about CNEWA’s world online: • Learn about the dramatic movement and displacement of Christians in the Middle East through our exclusive multimedia report at www.onemagazinehome.org/web/exodus • Watch the uplifting video of Relief United and its fundraiser for CNEWA’s work in Syria at www.cnewablog.org/ web/fundraiser • View a video on CNEWA’s work with Caritas Armenia at www.onemagazinehome.org/web/armeniawinter • Read the latest news about the good work of sisters in Syria, in a letter from the Maronite Archbishop of Damascus

THESE AND MUCH MORE CAN BE FOUND AT CNEWA.ORG FOR DAILY UPDATES, CHECK OUT CNEWA’S BLOG, ONE-TO-ONE AT CNEWABLOG.ORG

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Care for Marginalized

Hardship and Hospitality One city in Lebanon copes with more newcomers and fewer resources text and photographs by Raed Rafei

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n the chill morning air of a January Sunday, worshipers of all ages crowd into the cathedral. Wrapped in thick scarves and coats, they take shelter from the cold inside the massive stone walls of the church dedicated to Our Lady of Deliverance, which serves as the seat of the Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Zahleh, a city in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. The pews quickly fill and many latecomers stand by the door, trying to rein in their restless children. “Those who escape their homeland,” Archbishop Issam John Darwich says of refugees in his homily — including many worshipers in attendance — “bear resemblance to the Holy Family who fled to Egypt out of fear of those who wanted to kill Jesus. “Some Lebanese think the displaced are competing with them for resources,” he adds, “but empathy with the alien and the weak brings us closer to God.” Hundreds of Syrian families have taken up residence in this largely Christian city of 50,000 inhabitants, nestled at the base of the mountain chain separating Lebanon from the raging war in their homeland. The archbishop’s homily references a growing sense of unease in Zahleh, and the rest of the country, from the enduring refugee crisis. As the war in Syria enters its seventh year, many refugee families are fraught; those fortunate enough to have brought savings have by now exhausted their funds, and few job opportunities remain — especially in a struggling economy such as Zahleh’s, which had traditionally relied on trade with Syria with other nearby countries. “I haven’t touched a paving slab in eight months,” says George Rizk, 51, a stonemason from Yabroud, a Social worker Rachelle Beaini visits Syrian refugees in Zahleh, Lebanon.

suburb north of Damascus and home to one of the oldest churches in Syria. After living in rented apartments in Zahleh for four years and working odd jobs, Mr. Rizk and his wife, Antoinette, feel they are at their “last breath.” Antoinette, who had to sell most of her jewelry to help support the household, keeps a warm smile even as she speaks of the family’s hardships. A year and a half ago, their daughter, along with her husband and two little girls, made the perilous journey by boat from Turkey to Greece, as have millions of refugees over the past few years. “For a whole week, I did not know whether she was safe or not,” says Antoinette, who has been

The Rizks are one of about 600 Syrian Christian refugee families living in Zahleh today, mostly in rented apartments or rooms. Many work in construction or find lowpaying jobs in the service industry. To make ends meet, they rely on food donations and other forms of assistance. To visit Zahleh is to see a microcosm of how the refugee crisis is affecting Lebanon and other host communities; in Zahleh, one sees social services strained and charities overwhelmed as those in need continue to stream into the country. “The archeparchy tries to help as much as possible, but our budget for aid is shrinking while the demands are increasing,” says

“The aim … is to create lasting bonds and harmony among the people here.” waiting for years to immigrate through legal channels to Australia, where her siblings live. Today, she and her husband rely on the meager income of their 26-year-old son, Joseph, who works as a hairdresser for about $100 a week. Since 2011, more than a million Syrians have fled to neighboring Lebanon. Scattered across the country in the poorest neighborhoods of Beirut and other large cities, as well as in tent encampments in the Bekaa Valley, the vast majority of refugees live in very difficult conditions. Today, despite government efforts to reduce their numbers, refugees from Syria constitute about a sixth of the country’s current population.

Rachelle Beaini, a social worker of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

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relatively thriving Christian enclave surrounded by Muslim towns, Zahleh has attracted many Christian refugee families from Syria, especially those who lived in towns close to the Lebanese border and who have always entertained historical relations with Lebanon. But even though many Syrian families say they feel generally welcome in Zahleh, local communities routinely express their exasperation with refugees. The stagnant economic situation, the protracted refugee crisis and grudges stemming from the Lebanese civil war — during which

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The CNEWA Connection Refugee families receive the Eucharist at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Deliverance.

CNEWA traces its earliest origins to Bishop George Calavassy’s efforts to support displaced Armenians, Greeks and AssyroChaldeans in the early 20th century. Since then, CNEWA has given special attention to the needs of those displaced by war, famine or civil unrest. Today, this work includes working for, through and with the local churches in Lebanon to help refugee families find food, shelter, health care and hope. Through the generosity of our donors, CNEWA has helped thousands who have fled to Lebanon from Iraq and Syria — providing medical care, food, diapers, heating fuel and other essentials. Countless families have received assistance and support to try and rebuild their lives. It may take years before the situation stabilizes. “Poverty is escalating,” CNEWA’s regional director in Beirut, Michel Constantin, said not long ago. “And the needs are growing.” CNEWA will continue to strive to meet those needs and accompany those who are fleeing terror, injustice and social upheaval. To learn how you can help make that possible, call: 1-800-442-6392 (United States) or 1-866-322-4441 (Canada). Syrian troops laid siege to Zahleh for three months — exacerbate tensions between the two communities. “We encourage reconciliation initiatives to ease the tension between the Lebanese and the Syrians,” says Michel Constantin, regional director for CNEWA, which

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provides assistance to refugees and those in need from the host communities through the local churches. One of these initiatives is a soup kitchen called the Table of St. John the Merciful, named after the seventh-century patriarch of

Alexandria famed for never turning away a supplicant. Founded by the church a year ago, this program offers hot meals from Monday to Friday to nearly 350 refugees, as well as poor Lebanese citizens. People from around the city volunteer to staff the kitchen, which receives food from a large number of restaurants, bakeries and more prosperous local families. On a recent Sunday, the Table received Syrian refugee families after the Divine Liturgy, offering chicken, meat, rice and salad as well as pizza for the children. Those at the gathering enjoyed music, dancing and even, for those of age, a bit of their favorite beverage. Such small comforts mean much to people in need, whether exiled from home or not — bringing a measure of cheer and a muchneeded reprieve from their many worries. “The aim is not only to serve food but to create lasting bonds and harmony among the people here,” said the Rev. Elias Ibrahim, a priest of the cathedral parish. Father Ibrahim oversees the operations of the center and serves also as a spiritual counselor for refugees. Aida Yassin, a 76-year-old widow, is one of several struggling Lebanese who eat regularly at the Table. “It’s not only about receiving food. I feel the warmth of two communities eating side by side,” says Mrs. Yassin, whose severe osteoporosis limits her mobility. She relies on help from the church for food, medicine and heating oil. The income of her only son, Eli Yassin, 41, is barely enough to cover his needs and those of his family. Eli earns $530 a month performing maintenance on generators at an aluminum factory, a job he has held for the past 16 years.


Father Elias Ibrahim serves Syrian families at the Table of St. John the Merciful. Aida Yassin, a Lebanese widow, sits with her son, Eli; her daughter-in-law, Lina Barakat; and her grandson, Michael.

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“Empathy with the alien and the weak brings us closer to God.”

“The prices have been going up steadily and my salary is still the same,” said Mr. Yassin, who married three years ago and worries that in the near future he will not be able to afford schooling for his 2-yearold son, Michael. “When I ask for a raise, my boss tells me: ‘If you’re not satisfied, just leave; I can easily replace you,’” he says. With job opportunities generally on the decline and competition with Syrian workers increasing, especially over low-income, unskilled work, many feel the precariousness of their condition.

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hile the Bekaa Valley — and Lebanon in general — has always been a magnet for Syrian migrant laborers willing to work in agriculture or in construction, an influx of newcomers has flooded the job market in this small country.

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Refugees now work as plumbers, painters and repairmen, and perform countless other manual jobs throughout Lebanon. In Zahleh, as well as the rest of the country, it has become very common to encounter Syrians — recognizable from their accent — serving coffee in cafés or carrying grocery bags. They sometimes go entirely unpaid, relying only on tips. Moreover, circumstances have reduced many Syrians to beg — sometimes as young as 5 — in the streets of every city in the country. This overwhelming new situation has caused an uproar in Lebanese society, which for years regarded Syria as an oppressing power. Although in October 2014 the Lebanese government closed its borders to refugees, adopting stricter regulations for Syrians wishing to reside and work in the country, many among Lebanon’s poorest have worried that while

p The predominantly Christian city of Zahleh lies in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. { Ms. Beaini dances with Syrian women during a social event hosted at the soup kitchen.

Syrians receive aid from the United Nations and charity groups, citizens will be left to their own devices. This has fueled deeply rooted feelings of resentment of Syrians and has nourished a growing antagonism toward the refugees. Reports of abuse and hostilities between locals and refugees are commonplace, even if violent incidents tend to be kept in check. Accordingly, most aid groups are very careful not to fuel such sentiments. “Every aid program that helps Syrian or Iraqi refugees in the country makes sure to support poor local Lebanese communities as well,” says Mr. Constantin.


Nevertheless, love remains, transcending such raw emotions and fears. Three years ago, Eli Yassin met Lina Barakat, 35, from the town of Zabadani in southwestern Syria, located close to the border of Lebanon. She escaped with her parents and brother under heavy bombardment. “In the beginning, my father insisted for several months on staying,” she says. “Then one day the shelling was unbearable and there was smoke all over the apartment. So we had no choice but to leave in a rush,” adds the Greek Orthodox refugee, who studied photography and filmmaking in Syria. After crossing the border in a taxi, she stayed with her family at her aunt’s residence near Zahleh. Four months later, Lina Barakat met Eli Yassin at a clothing store. They fell in love, and after a few months they married. Today, the couple and their son live with Mr. Yassin’s mother in a modest apartment off an alley in a poor Zahleh neighborhood. “I did not care which nation she was from. She was a good girl who would make my son happy,” says Aida Yassin, smiling at her daughterin-law. Although they feel grateful, they wish they had the means to have another child. “Mike gets lonely. He loves to play with other kids, but I cannot afford to send him to a child care center,” Lina Barakat says.

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everal miles away, Mrs. Barakat’s parents and brother reside in a one-bedroom apartment. Her father Elias Barakat, 54, suffers from ulcers and remains unemployed after a decades-long career as an electrician in Syria. Her mother, Montaha, 53, battles diabetes and is likewise unemployed. They depend on their son Issam, 33, who

Help the church reach out to stranded families in Lebanon Please help today www.lebanoncnewa.org

earns $20 a day painting homes in the Lebanese capital of Beirut. His income, however, is erratic, leaving gaps when there is no work or when he falls ill. Issam spends up to three hours commuting to work each day. In addition to rent and other daily expenses, Issam pays an annual fee of $600 to the Lebanese General Security Office to be able to work in the country. Asked if he would like to get married, he smirked. “How can I? With what money?” As do many refugees, Issam dreams of traveling out of the region altogether, to a Western country. But resettlement is very difficult. The fraction of refugees integrated into most European countries, Australia, Canada or the United States remains very small. Many others hope to go back to their hometowns when the situation improves, even if they see no prospects for a political solution in the horizon. However, Christians in particular say they fear for their lives back in Syria with extremists in control of many areas still. This leaves many with no choice but to stay in Lebanon, which, according to officials and aid workers, has reached alarming limits in its capacity to integrate refugees.

Yet life must go on. “I still make kibbeh,” Issam’s mother, Montaha Barakat says, referring to a Levantine dish made of bulgur or cracked wheat, minced onions and finely ground meat. “But very often I replace meat with mashed potatoes,” she adds. “What I miss most is making meals for my family and friends.” A frequent contributor to ONE, Beirut-based Raed Rafei is a journalist and independent filmmaker whose writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Forbes Arabia and The Lebanese Daily Star.

RAED RAFEI HAS MORE ON REFUGEES IN LEBANON ON OUR BLOG, ONE-TO-ONE:

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cnewablog.org/web/ village HE ALSO OFFERS AN INTIMATE LOOK IN AN EXCLUSIVE VIDEO AT:

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Children in Need

Head of the Class In Ethiopia, Catholic schools set the standard text by Emeline Wuilbercq with photographs by Petterik Wiggers

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he Rev. Abraham Waza wears a broad and satisfied smile, his eyes wrinkling behind his black glasses. “Look at them,” he says with a deep voice, pointing at his students. “It’s rainy, it’s muddy, it’s dusty, and in spite of that, the children are here. “In the other schools, they wouldn’t come after heavy rainfall,” he adds. Abba (Amharic for “father”) Abraham, 42, administers Our Lady’s Catholic School in Dubbo, in the Wolayta region of southern Ethiopia — about 150 miles away from the capital, Addis Ababa. In the large compound, dozens of children in uniform rush to class, bypassing puddles of muddy water. Some laugh, others shout, grabbing each other’s shoulders to keep pace. Abba Berhanu Woemago chats with a student outside the Abba Pascal Catholic Girls’ School in Soddo.

Painted on the walls around them are figures such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, as well as inspiring quotes that underline the importance of education. According to the priest, students rarely miss class. He attributes this to the school’s positive methods. “We motivate them, we give them affection, care and discipline.” Such are the values he has been trying to instill for the past four years. Catholics represent less than 1 percent of Ethiopia’s estimated 105 million people. And while a tiny minority in Ethiopia — 43 percent of the population is Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, 32 percent Muslim and 19 percent Protestant — the Catholic school system is extensive and successful. The Catholic Church, Abba Abraham says proudly, administers some 405 schools throughout the country. And these have built their reputation on the quality of their education.

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The CNEWA Connection t Abba Tesfaye Petros administers the Debre Selam Mariam Catholic School in Gondar. u Kidist Kassahun studies in her room, near her prayer corner.

Although Catholics make up a minority in Ethiopia, Catholic schools remain among the most cherished and respected institutions in the country. CNEWA supports them and their mission in whatever ways possible. Some of that support is financial. CNEWA provides about half a million dollars a year to support some 50 educational institutions in Ethiopia. But some support is more urgent. Many of these schools work with the “poorest of the poor,” and a significant part of CNEWA’s support has lately involved providing food supplements to schools in drought-stricken parts of the country. These enable children to have the energy to study and do their schoolwork — and give them a chance to learn and grow into a better future. CNEWA’s generous donors and benefactors are having a profound impact on so many of Ethiopia’s neediest children. To learn how you can be a part of that great work, call: 1-800-442-6392 (United States) or 1-866-322-4441 (Canada).

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“Here, you don’t waste time like in public schools, where there is only a part-time education; here, the pupils study full time.” Our Lady’s Catholic School is run by the Capuchins and was founded at the end of the 1930’s by a French missionary named Pascal De Luchon. “It was the first school in the surroundings,” Abba Abraham says. Since then, many of the school’s students have gone on to play key roles within the country — among them, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Presently, around 1,500 children are studying here from primary to preparatory school. “I would sell my clothes to send my children to this school,” says Tilahun Honja, 42. The father of five serves as a catechist, teaching religion in churches and in the surrounding villages. Apart from his religious work, he makes his living selling flour and teff — a tiny grain used to make injera, traditional Ethiopian flatbread. Depending on the grade, parents pay school fees ranging from 140 to 210 birrs (about $6 to $9) per month — a lot for a father earning far less than a thousand birrs monthly. Public schools are free. Yet, “public schools don’t have the same quality,” asserts Markos Mathewos. The 20-year-old student with curly hair and prayer beads around his neck is at the top of his class. “Here, there is more competition,” he says, adding that the school’s 45 teachers are also held to a high standard. “Before, I was not as clever as I am now,” he says with a shy smile. Markos expresses sadness that his siblings cannot join him, due to


“I would sell my clothes to send my children to this school.” the costs. He tries to make them proud with his excellent grades, which have partly paid his way in the form of merit scholarships. Yet even if the school is expensive compared to its public counterparts, Mr. Honja wants all his children to study there. “I want one of my children to become a doctor,” he says, with bright eyes and a gap-toothed grin. Our Lady’s Catholic School, he says, puts this dream within reach.

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n Ethiopia, Catholic schools try their best to help needy communities. Tesfalem Wolde, a 27-year-old English teacher, says he appreciates “the charity of the Catholics, not only here but all around the world.” As a Protestant, he holds the priests in high esteem. “They help the poor people everywhere, they give pure water for the elders, they give medical assistance.”

Education, he says, is no exception. “Many teachers working at governmental schools are sending their children to Our Lady’s Catholic School.” It sometimes happens that the poorest students cannot continue to cover tuition. Priests from Catholic schools often visit homes to check if a student’s family is in need. When a lack of resources threatens a student’s enrollment, they try to help. Many Catholic schools also count on support from church organizations abroad — such as CNEWA — which help defray costs and cover shortfalls. Tesfatsion Entro, 19, has received support in this way. The tall and slim student says he says he has “no words” to describe the school. “I come from a very poor family,” he explains. Above all, he cherishes having “access to books,” he says, going to the library every day. Mr. Entro’s love of science has propelled

him toward the study of engineering, and he expresses the desire to be “an inventor.” “We don’t have any [material] benefit,” says Abba Abraham of operating the school. “Our profit is when the boys and girls have good results, when they join the university.” Other private schools, on the other hand, tend to be profitdriven organizations, says the Rev. Berhanu Woemago, 41. “School should not be for the rich but for all,” the priest says. “Catholic schools allow for the personal development of the child, who is at the center.” After studying canon law in Italy, Abba Behanu became the director of the Abba Pascal Catholic Girls School in Soddo, about 20 miles from Dubbo. In this town of some 86,000 inhabitants, hotels and roads have sprouted up everywhere, creating the illusion that prosperity has supplanted poverty.

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However, the priest says, many households remain in need. The Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region of Ethiopia is known to be one of the emigration centers of the country, from which many leave to seek a better life in South Africa. But in the Catholic school he directs, Abba Berhanu works to foster ambitions and hopes that can take root right in their homeland. Abba Pascal Catholic Girls’ School was built with the aim of forming skilled and empowered women. Abba Berhanu is proud to tell the story of three girls from a poor family who all studied at Abba Pascal: The eldest earned a scholarship to continue her education in Canada, while the twins now both pursue degrees in medicine. “In Ethiopia, our mothers often don’t have the same rights as our Students complete classwork at Abba Pascal Catholic Girls’ School.

fathers,” says Bethlehem Mekete, a 17-year-old student with long braids and a blue uniform. “In public schools, it’s the same — boys have superiority. But here, we are free to learn, to play, to ask.” In this school for girls, Catholics amount to only 3 to 4 percent of students, Abba Berhanu explains. Most students are Orthodox, Muslim or Protestant. The priest emphasizes the school’s equal treatment of students from all religious backgrounds. “When they come, they don’t know whether it’s a Catholic school or not, but they know there is fair treatment.” “We are a family here; there is no conflict,” says Yordanos Isayas, 15. A short girl with kinky hair, she was recently elected as the prime minister of the school’s Youth Parliament. She adds that all students are taught discipline and self-confidence, as well as how to help the needy, whatever their background.

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atholic schools in Ethiopia face unique constraints. They may not display a crucifix or teach the catechism as they do elsewhere. Religious education cannot be overt, as the government forbids it. The priests take this in stride, confident that Catholic values can nevertheless be instilled through education. Teachers constantly exhort students to be conscious of their behavior, whether in the classroom or at home, among their parents, relatives and friends. “We’re working day and night … trying to teach the students values based on what Jesus taught the apostles,” Abba Berhanu says. “He’s our model of teaching hard work, personal responsibility, respect, connectedness to nature, etc.” “We sort of teach indirectly the Ten Commandments,” he adds. The priest attributes the government’s prohibition of teaching religious morality to the


Students take notes at Our Lady’s Catholic School in Dubbo.

attitudes and methods found in certain religious schools. “They become exclusive instead of being inclusive,” he explains. This inclusiveness is one of the reasons why 59-year-old Kassahun Tegegne decided to send his daughter to Debre Selam Mariam Catholic School in Gondar, in northern Ethiopia. The capital of the Ethiopian Empire from the 17th to the 19th century, the city includes architectural and religious treasures that bring thousands of tourists every year. At the break of dawn, one can see dozens of women in white veils walking silently to the Orthodox churches to pray. At Debre Selam Mariam School, most of the children are Orthodox. Mr. Tegegne’s daughter, Kidist Kassahun, is no exception. Sitting in his modest house, with numerous pictures of family members and icons of Jesus hanging on walls made of grass and mud, Mr. Tegegne reflects on what is most important for his daughter. The teachers at his daughter’s Catholic school, he says, help their students to respect others, to be ethical and faithful to God. How successful are they? In her bedroom, she has converted one of the corners into a small shrine sectioned off with a flowered curtain. And there, every morning, she prays. “To thank God every morning,” says the pretty 17-year-old, who keeps her black hair in a neat bun, “to be optimistic, to give thanks for one more day alive, to be happy, to work hard.” “People don’t especially take us as a Catholic [institution], but as a school — as an institution that offers a good education,” says Abba Tesfaye Petros, 39, the administrator of Debre Selam Mariam Catholic School.

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He adds that he appreciates all the encouragement he receives from the parents. Even last year, when a protest movement shook Ethiopia, they told him they felt their children were safe in school. The priest works to provide support to the children with the greatest needs, although it can be challenging to reach them. In Gondar and its outskirts, he has often visited homes to offer assistance to students and families. Currently, he arranges for help for some 200 students unable to pay their school fees. Although the school can sidestep certain financial constraints, space constraints prove less tractable. “If you accept all the people who want to come, you will more than double the number of students,” he explains. “Some classrooms are already packed.” Other Catholic schools likewise struggle with their limits. In Dubbo, for instance, Our Lady’s Catholic School is currently in a scramble to acquire enough money to pay all its teachers’ salaries this summer. And yet, if they had more funds, Abba Abraham says, they could do more outreach to those who drop out and flee to the city. Such young pupils, he says, end up “cleaning

shoes, working as day laborers and sometimes becoming street children.” In Soddo, Abba Berhanu struggles with the question of whether to raise tuition to make ends meet, recognizing that this could place more strain on parents. Although he faces an unpleasant dilemma, he remains optimistic. “Despite all the difficulties,” he says, “we have a strong hope that we can reach out to all the brothers and sisters in need, and offer them the chance to go to school and explore their potential.” Emeline Wuilbercq is a French journalist based in Addis Ababa. There, she serves as a correspondent for the African edition of Le Monde. Her work has appeared in Jeune Afrique and The Guardian, among other places.

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Children in Need

Secret Success

The of Their

The secret, alumni say, is love text and photographs by Don Duncan

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hipla Joy, Devika Narayanan and Deepu Sasidharan are three very different people. They hail from different parts of Kerala, a state in southwestern India, and from different family backgrounds. They have different interests and pursue different callings. Yet these young adults share something in common: their needs as children and students were attended to in child care initiatives of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. “I had to leave home because my father was an alcoholic,” says

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22-year-old Shipla Joy from the town of Mundakayam, in southern Kerala. To shield her from abuse and violence, at the age of 12 she was brought to a nearby children’s home run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. When Divika Narayanan’s father died of a heart attack, her mother wanted to be closer to her own family for support. She moved the whole family from their home in Wayanad in northern Kerala to Cochin, the economic capital of the state, where Divika, now 25,

entered St. Mary’s Children’s Home and Girls’ School at age 11. Deepu Sasidharan’s father abandoned his family when the 29-year-old Deepu was only 4. Unable to support them on her own, his mother was forced to place her children in the care of institutions. Young Deepu entered a home called St. Peter’s Sneha Bhavan in his native city of Attappadi in central Kerala. Each of the three remembers the transition from family to institution as painful, but each also describes a


Shipla Joy helps with homework at the children's home administered by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

fast period of adaptation, in which a secondary family structure — one cultivated by religious sisters — took form around them, comforting them. “I was the youngest person at the children’s home when I arrived there,” says the young man. “But I soon realized that on top of my real mother, outside, there was a woman who was my mother at the home. I called her ‘mom’ too. She was a layperson who took care of me all this time. She gave me love and care when I needed it most.”

For Ms. Narayanan, her surrogate mother figure came in the form of Annie Augustine, who was raised by sisters after being abandoned. She grew up at the same home, and remained there afterward. “She took care of me. She spoiled me,” Ms. Narayanan remembers with a laugh. “She has a very loving nature.” The weight of social ills often falls heaviest upon the youngest. India, a nation of about 1.27 billion people, contains more than 400 million children. India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2007 estimated some 69 percent of children faced physical abuse either inside or outside of their family environment. Millions work as laborers and tens of thousands are victims of trafficking yearly. Poverty and malnutrition remain common at all ages; according to one study, in 2009, three out of four people in India could not consume enough food to obtain an average of 2,200 calories daily. In Kerala, church groups and nongovernmental organizations have come to provide the lion’s share of initiatives to support at-risk children. The state itself runs just 25 homes for children either abandoned or removed from their homes by social services. Yet church and NGO sectors run more than 1,100 child care programs, many of them in the form of homes and boarding schools. Through these efforts, many of Kerala’s most vulnerable have found their lifelines — often, one wearing a habit and a smile.

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chool years are a period of intense change and transformation. In this formative time, the ravages of addiction, premature death and

abandonment can irrevocably alter the course of a young life for the worse. Yet today, the three young adults once entrusted to the care of sisters lead healthy, prosperous lives. Each has achieved a high level of education, earning a university degree. Shilpa Joy works as a rehabilitation therapist, specializing in speech and physiotherapy. Divika Narayanan has completed law school and is awaiting full licensure as a lawyer. Deepu Sasidharan is a doctor, currently completing his residency. Most importantly, they are happy and well-adjusted adults. The Rev. Aji Aikkara, director of the Cherupushpalayam Children’s Home in the city of Palakkad in central Kerala, which cares for 12 boys and 16 girls, says the formative years are critical. “The children cultivate a positive outlook on life while at the home,” he explains. “They become very efficient at getting things done and develop a high level of adaptability which serves them well later in life.” “At the children’s home, we all had housework and tasks to do,” says Dr. Sasidharan. “It was a great training in hard work and discipline. I could see later, when I had to put in very long hours on the wards during medical training, that I had no problem stepping up to the challenge.” The young man now lives in Calicut, a large coastal city toward the north of the state. After completing his high school diploma at St. Peter’s Sneha Bhavan, he was accepted into the Calicut Medical College. He graduated with his Bachelor of Medicine degree in 2012, and now works toward the status of M.D. He will complete his program this year. Dr. Sasidharan commutes on a slick motorcycle, a useful vehicle for skirting the gridlock that plagues Calicut, especially at rush hour.

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The CNEWA Connection Divika Narayanan maintains a strong connection with St. Mary’s Children’s Home, where she lived during her adolescence.

CNEWA has a long history of supporting a variety of child care institutions in India — including some 79 institutions that now serve more than 3,900 children. CNEWA’s regional director for India, M.L. Thomas, explained recently: “For decades, CNEWA has been accompanying the local churches in providing better opportunities for a bright future. It extends its support to the poor slum children, the elderly, mother and child care, the handicapped, the abandoned, the tribal and others who are starving for food and deprived of education. “Catholic institutions have played major roles in building up strong life values in communities. Thousands of poor young girls and boys receive excellent character formation and education through these institutions. “Apart from providing support for various human needs, CNEWA also extends the hands of the church, so that spiritual needs of the faithful are taken care of. “A disciplined life, love for each other, a prayerful heart to God, the need for education and self-sustainability — all these are the basic teachings instilled through our programs, which influence Indian society.” To learn how you can support this vital mission, call: 1-800-442-6392 (United States) or 1-866-322-4441 (Canada).

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He carefully weaves through the traffic, finally turning off the road and driving through tall, wide gates with “Calicut Medical College” written in a large arch above them. The campus — the largest medical school in the state — is a verdant haven in an otherwise hectic city. After parking, he skips up the stairs into one of the campus’s imposing buildings, breezes past a bust of Hippocrates in the lobby and makes his way to the wards, where he practices medicine under supervision. Meanwhile, in Cochin, about four hours south along the coast from Calicut, Divika Narayanan is taking a lunch break from her job at Axis Bank, one of Kerala’s larger consumer banks. “I’ve been working here for about three months while I await my final results from law school,” she says, enjoying a brief respite in the earlyafternoon sun. Ms. Narayanan has no doubt that she made the cut; it is only a matter of time — a waiting game. In the meantime, she has taken a job at the bank so she can save money and support her mother. Although the bank job is a useful interlude, her path to law extends back to her earliest years, before the death of her father. “My father was a legal advisor,” she says, “so he inspired me to enter this field. My mother has been very encouraging, too.” Shilpa Joy’s job as a therapist requires her to deal with many people every day, something she would never have imagined when she arrived at the sisters’ doorstep, a child escaping a violent home plagued by alcoholism. “At the children’s home, I learned to adapt, live and work with many


p Ms. Joy provides physical therapy to youth at the Home of Peace.

q Dr. Deepa Sasidharan parks his motorcycle outside the offices of Calicut Medical College.

q Ms. Narayanan visits the current residents of St. Mary’s Children’s Home.

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Ms. Joy acts as a role model to the children in her former home.

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different kinds of personalities. I came to understand other people and see how the many other children are. Living with these different types of people helped me to get out of my childhood introversion,” she says. Recently, Ms. Joy started a new job at the Home of Peace — a center dedicated to children with disabilities, run by the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy — a stone’s throw away from her home with

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the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Indeed, the sisters have welcomed her to live with them once more, temporarily, as she searches for an apartment. At work in the Home of Peace, Ms. Joy makes use of all her professional skills, providing physical and speech therapy. She also has to adapt constantly to the very specific and sometimes acute needs of the children at the home.

In the home’s physical therapy room, a sort of gym adapted to special needs, one boy works on his balance by sitting on a large ball. Another boy, who wears a prosthetic lower leg, practices walking on the treadmill. At a nearby table, Ms. Joy performs stretches and exercises with another boy who suffers from cerebral palsy. “Now, I can cope with all kinds of personalities or with difficult people or situations. I have learned, at the children’s home, how to cope with such things.” After work, she goes back to her accommodations with the sisters. There, she serves as a sort of role model and counselor to the children in the home. She helps the girls with their homework and she urges them to strive for great things. “I try to share my own experience with them,” the young woman says. “It is a way of trying to motivate them to go further, to study further and to have a happy, fulfilled life.”

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ll three graduates of these child care initiatives of the church have a striking sense of civic duty. Being from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds and seeing the transformative, empowering effects of a stable upbringing and a good education, they have each become staunch advocates of social justice and charitable works. Each has a keen wish to “give back” and to help those in need. “They are brought up and educated in a Christian atmosphere, to be socially-committed citizens,” says Father Aikkara, the children’s home director in Palakkad. “They develop a spirit of sharing and concern for others and a sense of responsibility, because at the children’s home, they imbibe values


“They are brought up and educated in a Christian atmosphere. … They develop a spirit of sharing and concern for others.” such as truth, justice, loyalty, trustworthiness and forgiveness.” “I will practice under a senior lawyer once I get my final law school result, but my ultimate plan is to help the poor with my skills as a lawyer,” says Ms. Narayanan. “My mother had a legal problem in the past. It was a family issue and it was brought to family court. She couldn’t afford legal counsel at the time and it was very hard for us. So, now I am very aware of the legal needs of the poor and I will work pro bono for them.” Poverty and the hardships of the poor are likewise never far from Ms. Joy’s thoughts. “I pursued my specialty because I wanted to help the vulnerable in society,” she says of her choice to become a therapist. “I came from a home that had many domestic problems and so, when it came to deciding a career path, it was important for me to do something that could help people who are in situations like the one I was in as a child.” For his part, Dr. Sasidharan formalized his wish to give something back by creating a charity to promote education among Kerala’s Adivasi, a term that describes India’s indigenous populations. Most are poorly educated and remain illiterate. “What I have achieved so far in my life is completely thanks to education. I was so lucky it was made available to me,” Dr. Sasidharan says during a break, “so I want to do what I can to extend that to those who need it among the tribal people.” And so, in 2015, he established a foundation called Helping Attapadi for Proper Yield (HAPY). The

initiative seeks to help disadvantaged youth in Dr. Sasidharan’s native region of Attapadi, with special focus on its Adivasi residents. He does not belong to an indigenous community, but by growing up in Attapadi he was exposed daily to — and touched by — the plight of the area’s Adivasi. The idea for HAPY came from the experience the future doctor had at age 11, when he won a scholarship that covered the cost of his final two years of high school. Awarded on the basis of both academic merit and financial need, it enabled him to leave St. Peter’s Sneha Bhavan and live at home with his mother during his final years of secondary education. In its first phase, HAPY offers university scholarships to disadvantaged youth who show academic merit and financial need. “For now, we choose two people a year,” he says. “One of the awards will be funded entirely by me because now I am earning well as a doctor and this is within my means. The other award will be funded by a combination of donors drawn from my professional network.” He plans to expand HAPY from two annual scholarships to more, but also to begin awareness-raising work in tribal communities to convince parents of the value and power of education for their children. In tandem with HAPY, Dr. Sasidharan’s clinical focus is also geared toward helping Adivasi. He plans to concentrate his research on sickle cell disease, a genetic blood cell abnormality that affects tribal people disproportionately. “We have to counsel people before marriage,” he says. Genetic screening, he adds, “is the only way

medicine has of controlling the disease right now.” Deepu Sasidharan, Devika Narayanan and Shipla Joy not only stand as living, breathing testaments to the good works of more than 1,000 church-run children’s programs across Kerala — they also speak to the power of love and education. The fact that they have all developed into adults who want to help others attests to the truism that love begets love. “When I finished school, I had nothing in my hand,” says Dr. Sasidharan. “But what I did have was this very special upbringing and the confidence I gained from the love and care I got at the children’s home. Since my youth, that was the energy behind my drive and it is this kind of strength and belief that I want to pass on to those children who now desperately need it.” A regular contributor to ONE, Don Duncan has covered the Middle East and Africa for The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The New York Times and Agence France Presse. READ MORE OF DON DUNCAN’S IMPRESSIONS OF INDIA ON OUR BLOG, ONE-TO-ONE:

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Care for Marginalized

Found in Translation A new initiative of the Catholic Church cares for the children of migrants and refugees in Israel text by Michele Chabin with photographs by Ilene Perlman 24

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s lunchtime approaches, Claudia Graziano and her team usher more than two dozen youngsters to colorful, pintsize plastic tables, while seating the youngest in highchairs. As the staff and volunteers of the St. Rachel Day Care Center warm up food and fill sippy cups, Ms. Graziano leads a singalong, ending with a short, melodic prayer of thanks before the meal, and the sign of the cross. Staff members, a mix of Catholic laypeople and religious sisters, address the children — born in Israel to migrants and asylum seekers — in Hebrew. “If children who live in Israel don’t speak Hebrew, they enter the Israeli school system at the age of 3 seriously disadvantaged,” explains Ms. Graziano, the program’s director, as she spoons crushed carrots into a baby’s mouth. Of the many day care centers in Jerusalem, the St. Rachel Center is considered a model facility for the children of migrants and asylum seekers, providing education and care at a level comparable to statefunded institutions. Moreover, it does this at a fraction of the cost, as the center draws most of its funding from organizations such as CNEWA and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Even for Israeli citizens, the leastexpensive centers providing fullday care cost upward of $600 a month — far too much money for migrants from the Horn of Africa, India, the Philippines or Sri Lanka, who mostly clean houses or act as caregivers to elderly and disabled Israelis. At the St. Rachel Center, parents enroll their children for just over $100 per month. The center is the newest day care program launched by the Rev. David Neuhaus, S.J., the Latin patriarchal vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics, in response to the growing needs of an underserved community.

Migrant rights remain a contentious issue in Israeli politics; the country’s government does not extend to workers from abroad the same breadth of social services citizens and permanent residents enjoy. For example, a 2014 study by Kav LaOved, an advocacy group for disadvantaged workers in Israel, found migrant women reported being dismissed due to pregnancy at increasing rates, a practice typically outlawed. When not fired outright, migrant women often work without maternity leave or risk losing the job on which their legal status depends. Such parents have no choice but to place their children into the only facilities they can afford. Often these programs “warehouse” dozens of children — who are younger than 3 years old — under the supervision of a single untrained babysitter. In these filthy, overcrowded conditions, a number

p Claudia Graziano celebrates a birthday at the St. Rachel Center. t As the day care program’s director, Ms. Graziano provides a caring and nurturing environment to the children of migrant workers in Jerusalem.

of children have even perished due to lack of feeding, untreated fevers or suffocation. The St. Rachel Center, amply staffed and immaculately tidy, could not be more different. Its bright, cheery rooms, the abundance of toys and books as well as the happy atmosphere are a testament to the people who work there. Lay staff and volunteers play a strong role in the center’s day-to-day operations, says Sister Claudia Linati, an Ursuline sister from Milan who directs the after-school program. “Without our lay people we wouldn’t have the ability to function,” Sister Claudia says as she

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“As a Christian, I feel this is our duty, to help those in need.

These people are

so vulnerable.”

Edna Irsh, an Israeli, volunteers as a tutor at the St. Rachel Center. Fadia Shamieh, from the Palestinian Christian town of Beit Jala, helps youngsters prepare for their meal. Ursuline Sister Claudia Linati chats with youth at the after-school program she directs.

watches a group of boys play soccer in the courtyard. “We would have to find sisters and brothers to fill their shoes, and that’s not easy because most Catholics in the Holy Land speak Arabic, not Hebrew.” In a country where migrants struggle to belong, language fluency becomes critical. Ms. Graziano echoes the importance of immersion in Hebrew as early as possible. It has become one of the paramount tasks among the St. Rachel Day Care Center’s efforts to support the migrant community.

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“Our goal is to integrate them into Israeli society,” she says. “It’s the place where they were born and live.”

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nder Father Neuhaus’s guidance, the St. James Vicariate of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem attends to the spiritual and material needs of the 1,000 Hebrew-speaking Catholics based permanently in Israel and some 60,000 Catholic asylum-seekers and migrants. The vicariate first opened its doors to

children in 2013 in order to care for the very sick infant of a migrant worker who could not afford child care. Soon after, a mother who had been evicted from her home asked if she could leave her three young children there so she could work. The fledgling center’s reputation as a safe and warm place for children ranging from 3 months to 3 years old began to spread and it soon outgrew its cramped quarters. In September 2016 the center moved to a light and airy


prefabricated structure on the grounds of a Capuchin monastery, located in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in West Jerusalem. The new facility offers an outdoor space for infants and toddlers to play, while the older children run and socialize in the larger yard. The center’s full-day program begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends between 5 and 6 in the afternoon. The program currently enrolls 28 children, with another 60 on a waiting list. Between 20 and 30 older children arrive later for the

live in Israel illegally, either because they entered without permission or because they broke the terms of their work permits when they gave birth to a child. “Even if the parents know how to speak Hebrew, they rarely know how to read or write, so they can’t decipher the notices or help with the homework their older children bring home from school,” Ms. Graziano says. “At parent-teacher meetings one of us is often asked to translate,” she adds.

“This is how we feel about having sins,” Father Rafic explained. “We want to get rid of our sins in the same way as we get rid of a pebble.” In another exercise, older children were asked to write down what they would like to improve in themselves. “At the end of Lent we see if we’ve really changed.”

after-school program, where they play and complete their homework assignments, often with help from volunteers. As many as 80 older boys and girls attend the program during school holidays. In between meals, play time and special activities, such as dancing, the center’s lay staffers spend part of every week teaching the younger children new Hebrew vocabulary words related to certain themes. By the time they are 6 or 7, many of these children will be translating for their parents — most of whom

The staff also works to infuse the center with a Christian ethos. Older children study catechism after school. However, the center also welcomes non-Christian children, including a handful of youngsters from Muslim and Buddhist families. Last Lent, the children received a visit from the Rev. Rafic, a priest for the Hebrew-speaking community in Jerusalem. The younger children listened raptly as he instructed them to choose a pebble and to place it in their shoes, to see how uncomfortable it felt.

which nevertheless receive housing and a small stipend — are a kind of dream team. “We’re asking people to do very demanding work on minimal salaries. Despite this we have been incredibly fortunate.” The priest describes Claudia Graziano as having “dropped out of the sky” when the center needed a director. Born in Italy, Ms. Graziano moved to Jordan a number of years ago to found and administer a home for disabled children.

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ather Neuhaus says the center’s workers and volunteers — the latter of

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The CNEWA Connection Volunteers at the center share their skills and interests, such as ballet, with the children.

We asked our regional director in Jerusalem, Sami El-Yousef, to explain CNEWA’s involvement with the Latin Patriarchate’s Hebrew-speaking vicariate. He responded: “The Synod of Bishops for the Middle East that was convened in Rome in 2010 highlighted the need for the local church to ensure that it takes care of all the faithful in its territories regardless of where they were born, what language they speak, or what political views they may have. We at CNEWA listened intently and immediately started to support the work of the vicariate of the Hebrew-speaking community in Israel as well as the coordination to support the migrants whose needs are many.” CNEWA, he explained, not only supports the work of the vicariate financially, but also gives support to the St. Rachel Center and a newly established center for migrants in Tel Aviv. “Anyone who visits the Pastoral Center for Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Tel Aviv, which is affiliated with the newly inaugurated Church of Our Lady Woman of Valor, feels the deep spiritual link to the church and its institutions and the abundant faith of these communities,” he wrote. “CNEWA is very proud to be part of this exciting development in Israel.” To be a part of this development, call: 1-800-442-6392 (United States) or 1-866-322-4441 (Canada).

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After eight years, she decided to undertake an intensive study of the Bible. “The best place to do that is Jerusalem,” she says. She began to pray with the Catholic Hebrew-speaking community, who invited her to head a summer camp for the community’s children and, later on, to volunteer at the fledgling child care center. When the St. Rachel Center moved to larger quarters last September, Ms. Graziano, by then fluent in Hebrew, halted her studies to became its director. Ms. Graziano’s staff and volunteers hail from various parts of the world. Ainsely Rawlings, a staffer from Denver, Colorado, found her way to the center after she accompanied her husband to Jerusalem, where he now studies at the Hebrew University. An elementary school teacher, Mrs. Rawlings has spent the year not only caring for the children but also getting to know their families. “I didn’t realize they had formed such a close-knit community. They eat together, work together, go to the same church,” Mrs. Rawlings says of the migrants with whom she works. “They’re not Israeli, and this isn’t an easy place to live if you belong to a minority.” Nataly Younes, a Palestinian Christian staff member from Bethlehem who lives in East Jerusalem, says she feels a special obligation to help the foreign workers and asylum seekers, who receive virtually no support from the Israeli government. “As a Christian, I feel this is our duty — to help those in need,” Ms. Younes says as she cleans the face of a toddler. “These people are so vulnerable.”


Fadia Shamieh, 31, a Palestinian from the West Bank town of Beit Jala, is studying early childhood education and felt called to the St. Rachel Center. She admits that the work has its challenges; overcoming the language barrier, from learning unfamiliar names to beginning to convey ideas, was “very difficult at first,” she says. “There is no common language,” Ms. Shamieh says, “because the younger children are just beginning to learn Hebrew.” Yet this work rewards patience, and successive lessons grow easier with time. “Children are like sponges. They learn so quickly.” Guillaume Desbarbieux and his wife Amandine have spent the past two years volunteering at the day care center. They were sent by the Catholic Delegation for Cooperation, the international voluntary service agency run by the church in France. Mr. Desbarbieux, 26, says he and his wife, 24, were at first reluctant to volunteer in Israel, uncertain of whether they would be responding to a great need. “We heard it was a rich country,” he explains. “But we were excited to learn we would be caring for refugees’ babies.” The couple enrolled in an intensive Hebrew course, where they learned enough to communicate with the children. “I didn’t want to be a babysitter,” Mr. Desbarbieux says as he helps one toddler after another climb up the playground slide. “I originally wanted to do activities and work with the parents on educational benchmarks,” he says. Yet the young man observes that this has been a growing experience for himself, alongside the children — in addition to honing skills, his two years in Israel have made his faith “more concrete,” he says. “In the Mass you hear a lot about the biblical events that occurred in

Jerusalem, but it’s only when you visit the churches and walk the Via Dolorosa that the Bible truly comes alive,” he says.

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icking around a soccer ball with some of the other boys, 10-year-old Adam says he likes coming to the St. Rachel Center’s after-school program because he would otherwise be coming home to an empty house. His father, who came from Egypt, and his mother, from the Philippines, often work late as cleaners. “I like being here with my friends and getting help with my homework. My parents speak a little Hebrew, but not much,” he says. One house cleaner from Sri Lanka who requested anonymity says the center “has been a godsend.” “My son is learning so many things, numbers and colors in Hebrew,” she says of her nearly 2-year-old boy. “I speak English at home but that won’t help him once he’s enrolled in the Israeli school system.” Father Neuhaus says he dreams of the day the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv municipalities will begin to officially recognize the center and the children’s right to governmentsubsidized services — including access to Israel’s excellent universal health care. For now, the St. Rachel Center pays for a child’s private health insurance when his or her parents cannot afford it. Ms. Graziano dreams of expanding the St. Rachel Center, adding enough space and staff to accept the 58 children on the waiting list. “We don’t have a large room for the children to play indoors. In the summer we host up to 100 children.” She says she would also love a dedicated study, solely for the older students to do their homework.

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And in an ideal world, the government would also provide migrants and asylum seekers and their children the support services on which citizens rely. “Our children have a lot of trouble with self-confidence,” Ms. Graziano says. “Most have their basic needs met, but what they lack is a person to guide them through the place where they are born, but where they aren’t welcome.” Jerusalem-based journalist Michele Chabin has written for USA TODAY, National Catholic Register, Jewish Journal and ONE.

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Care for Marginalized

‘This Is the Only Light’ Caritas brings hope to young and old in Armenia by Gayane Abrahamyan

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ighty-year-old Marjik waits in her doorway in Artashat, Armenia, until she finally catches sight of the vehicle she has been expecting: a white car with “Love” painted in red on the side. She greets the arriving caregiver, Nelly, as she emerges from the car. “Oh, dear Nelly, what a good thing it is that you’ve come,” Marjik says. “Come, my girl, be my guest,” she says, inviting the woman into her home — little more than a shack.

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Marjik has lived here for 30 years with her son, who suffered serious injuries in the war with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990’s. A former shipping container, her home is about 20 feet wide and has been partitioned in half. To the left of the entrance is a living area that also stores dishes, pots and bottles containing collected water. On the right side stand two beds, a small cupboard with a television on it and an iron stove. The shelter has no running water. Marjik and her son go to a nearby

florist to procure water for bathing and cleaning, and they use the toilet at their next-door neighbor’s house. By any measure, their lives are a struggle. “We live off my pension,” she says of her subsidy that totals about $75 a month. “We are not included in any social program. They say they give that pension to me, not for my family. My family is just my sick son, and I must take care of him. He fought in Karabakh — he spent years in trenches and at outposts in cold conditions,” she explains. “Now he


is unable to work. He has poor health, but receives no pension.” As she speaks, her breathing grows labored, overcome by the dampness of her surroundings. Her life has not always been this way. Earlier in life, Marjik worked as a clerk in a department store — a job she held for 35 years. When she speaks about the past, her blue eyes shine brightly; when she returns to the present day, they become misty. She is not used to complaining, she explains. She wipes away her tears, composes herself and smiles at Nelly.

“They are my only hope,” she says of Caritas, the charity of the Armenian Catholic Church. “Once, I went to the florist’s to fetch some water. The owner of the place asked about how I lived, and I told him about my situation. He told me about an organization whose workers can come and see me. Hardly an hour passed, and then they came, and they enrolled me. “They are doing everything for me,” she says cheerily. “We need them very much. Nelly is a great

Armenian octogenarian Marjik lives with her son in a converted shipping container in Artashat, Armenia.

help, and the doctor helps with medicines.” Her story is echoed by dozens of Armenians who have come to rely on the generous work of Caritas Armenia — work that now spans generations. “My only hope is this organization. Only they help with anything. This,” she says, looking around at the darkness, “is the only light in all of this.”

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The CNEWA Connection

Armenia has faced hardships that have amounted to, literally and figuratively, an earthquake. The country has been wracked by persecution and genocide, and endured a historic earthquake in 1988 that left the country devastated and many of its citizens impoverished. CNEWA has a long history with Armenia and has sought to support these struggling people in whatever way we can. Despair is rampant, particularly in remote rural communities where the elderly live in grinding poverty and even young families have been torn apart, as husbands and fathers leave for work elsewhere, never to return. Working with the Armenian Catholic Ordinariate, the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and Caritas Armenia, CNEWA has sought to give these people a sense of dignity — and has accompanied the most vulnerable, children and the elderly, to offer some comfort and hope. To learn how you can aid our efforts, call: 1-800-442-6392 (United States) or 1-866-322-4441 (Canada).

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n October 2016, Caritas Armenia, led by its chair, Archbishop Rafael François Minassian, and its director, Gagik Tarasyan, expanded its services to lend help to those in need in Marjik’s hometown of Artashat and the neighboring villages in the country’s southwestern province of Ararat. According to the National Statistical Service’s 2016 data, the

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Ararat province has a population of about 260,000 people; some 37,000 are pensioners, and nearly 11,000 are unemployed. There, Caritas Armenia extends its work in two distinct directions. First, it provides home care and medical services for single elderly people, many of whom live in poverty and barely survive on their modest pensions. About 60 of Artashat’s elderly currently benefit from these

services. Second, it cares for the young through the Little Prince Center, which aims to provide some security to Artashat’s children. This initiative now serves 40 young people and their families. The manager of these two projects, Gayane Vardanyan, emphasizes that the need is great. “Elderly people and children are vulnerable and in need of support everywhere,” she says. Ofelia Poghosyan and Karine Ghazaryan, two health care professionals who provide medical services to the elderly, echo these sentiments and stress the importance of Caritas’s efforts. “The problems are significant,” Ms. Poghosyan says. “We have elderly women who have no bathrooms and toilets at all. We have an elderly woman who lives on the ground floor and whose wall is half-damp. The dampness is terrible. She has to spend the entire winter wrapped in warm coats. “There are people who have shelter, but suffer because of their loneliness,” she adds. There is a great need for psychological support, although as yet they do not have a psychologist on staff to provide a clinical perspective. “We ourselves act as psychologists to the extent we can. People not only need our professional support, but also our compassion.” Often, Ms. Poghosyan says, they long for something as simple as a conversation. Ms. Ghazaryan attaches special significance to the role of caregivers. “Besides their primary duties, our caregivers also act as friends, as someone people can talk to,” she says. “Our elderly people like them very much. They are happy during their visits, as it gives them new hope.” She adds: “Much depends on the caregiver, as he or she has to be able to communicate differently with each person.” This role,


t Archbishop Rafael François Minassian visits Marjik in her home. u Ofelia Poghosyan administers a checkup to an elderly patient. q Psychologist Arpine Sargsyan chats with a child at the Little Prince Center.

“Our caregivers also act as friends, as someone people can talk to. … It gives them new hope.”

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Ms. Ghazaryan explains, requires compassion and sensitivity. In turn, this program has become important for the doctors and caregivers themselves. The work is challenging, they report, but also fulfilling. “My beneficiaries call me more often than my relatives,” Ms. Ghazaryan says. “They are worried about every matter, are interested in every issue. I was sick for a few days, and they kept calling me and asking about how I felt. We have become close with them.” And when the staff successfully helps to solve a problem, she adds, all share in the joy. David Safaryan displays one of his paintings from art class.

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weet and savory smells waft out the door of a two-story house in a suburb of Artashat. Inside, children stand at two long tables and recite the Lord’s Prayer. They offer thanks to God for the meal before them, then sit in their chairs and dine as one big family. “The children receive a hot meal once a day,” says Petros Gyulnazaryan, coordinator of the Little Prince Children’s Center. “If some children are absent on a particular day, we send food to them. Sometimes, when we have a surplus of dry food, we give it to the children to take it with them. It is regrettable, but many of the children come here for the food.” Even small treats, he adds, make a big impression. “The other day we were giving lemonade. You

can’t imagine how happy the children were.” Children between the ages of 6 and 17 attend the center after school. They enjoy a hot meal and then participate in classes, including cooking and art. After lessons, the children receive free transportation to their homes, provided by the municipality. Today, the center has four lesson groups, but it plans to increase the number to six in the near future, says Mr. Gyulnazaryan. “We help them do their homework,” he says, “as many of the children have problems at their homes. Some are unable to do their homework well and on time. We have cooking classes, where children are taught to prepare food. Most importantly, we teach them healthy eating. We also have computer classes and at this moment the children’s favorite one: art.” In one of the large, bright rooms, children stand behind easels, refining pencil sketches and proudly presenting their masterpieces. The teacher, Vanush Safaryan, is a member of the Painters’ Union of Armenia and a former director of an art school in Artashat. He teaches children not only the craft of drawing and painting, but also the history and appreciation of art more generally. “Art will save the country,” he says of a country that savors its rich art and architectural heritage. “Let them love the art. Twenty of the children have already chosen this path, so it is already a victory,” he adds. “We have very bright children; they need to be given freedom and they will reveal themselves.” The center’s smallest pupil is a 9-year-old named David. David has drawn a picture of construction site, with a worker seated inside a crane and a still-unfinished building nearby.


David lives with his parents and a younger sister in a rented apartment in poor condition. The center offers him an escape, and a sense of hope. “After school we come here,” he says. “We have dinner, then we play games, draw, do our homework. It is very good.” He stops talking so he can focus on bringing his sketched construction site to life.

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he center serves a wide range of families, and not just those in financial need. Children with a single parent find a safe haven at the center, and many receive counseling and psychological support. One psychologist and two social workers attend to the children. Psychologist Arpine Sargsyan says they tailor their help to the child, whether they are coping with stress, fears, shyness or grief. “These are children from difficult families with different fears,” she says. In some cases, children may live with one parent after a divorce. Others may endure violence. “Many have seen their fathers beat their mothers, some have been victims of violence themselves. We have a girl who is very withdrawn. She is always afraid to see her father drunk. She says that when he drinks, they cannot leave the house, and he beats them all.” Some children have even encountered death. “We have a 10-year-old boy who last year saw his father commit suicide,” she explains. “He was in terrible stress. I worked with him and now I notice positive changes.” The center’s staff keeps constant contact with the children’s schools, coordinating to monitor changes in the children. Tangush, 11, attends the Little Prince Center. Her aunt, suffering from mental health issues, has repeatedly attacked and beaten the children of the household — especially Tangush.

Support Armenia’s churches as they reach out to the poor Please help today www.armeniacnewa.org

“We are in a difficult situation,” says her mother, named Anahit. “There were cases when she attacked Tangush, wanted to smother her. Imagine what state of mind the child must have been in. Believe me, this center is a salvation.” Since coming to the center, she says, her daughter has become calmer, more relaxed and happier. “I don’t know where we would be now if this all didn’t exist. I could never afford to take my child to a psychologist; we hardly have money for food. Here, we get everything. This is really salvation for all of us,” she says. “It would be very good if there were more places available. I’d also like my son to attend, but the number of places is limited yet. If they expanded, it would be a salvation for so many children.” Fortunately, there are prospects for the expansion of this children’s center. Archbishop Rafael envisions establishing a “children’s town,” where youngsters from the province will have an opportunity to learn and grow and see a better, brighter future. “We are also cooperating with the municipality of Artashat, numerous

local and international organizations,” the archbishop says, his enthusiasm infectious. “This is a major contribution, through which generations will be raised. Programs that help children will also help the province.” He speaks with certainty — and with faith in the future of his homeland and its children. “Soon,” he beams, “this project will become a reality.” Gayane Abrahamyan’s reporting has appeared in The Atlantic, EurasiaNet and ArmeniaNow.

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Web Exclusive

Refugees find a new home and new hope through Caritas Armenia by Gayane Abrahamyan

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Editors’ note: Gayane Abrahamyan profiles the exceptional work of Caritas Armenia in caring for the poor, especially the young and the elderly. Another group in need includes refugees who have fled the war in Syria. In this web exclusive, we get a glimpse at the world they left behind, and the struggles they face in Armenia. She agreed not to photograph the families to protect their privacy.

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vercome with emotion, Angela chokes on her words, the young mother’s sadness and loss plainly visible in her eyes. Amid the war in Syria, Islamic extremists took the lives of her husband, her father and her father-in-law. She also lost her home and her job. With three children in her care, the 35-year-old had to start a new life, alone, in Armenia. “I thought we would not survive, either,” she says. “We also received threats by telephone.” With care, she recounts the terrible days of 2013, when ISIS militants kidnapped her husband and father-in-law from the small factory where they worked. “I was waiting for some news for four months. I was waiting for a call all the time, keeping a Bible next to my phone. I was waiting for any news. I couldn’t drink, I couldn’t eat — it was an unbearable wait,” she explains. “We tried to find a way to offer money, to give ransom, but there was no response; they said that they had to receive their punishment,” she says. “What was the fault of my husband and his father? It was only being Christian Armenian.” Aleppo’s Forty Martyrs of Sebaste Armenian Apostolic Cathedral, pictured in December 2016, has suffered heavy damage.

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Four months after the kidnapping, Angela was told that her husband and his father had been killed. Despite all the efforts of the mediators, it was impossible even to recover their bodies. “We were told from different places that they did not give the bodies, because they did not want them to be buried as Christians,” she says. “A Muslim who was imprisoned together with them told me that they refused to renounce Christianity and, therefore, they were condemned to death and were not even buried.” Angela caresses a picture of her husband and children. Lost in her tears, she looks up as one of her

Angela’s journey to Armenia was arduous. After ISIS killed her husband, members of the group began phoning her home with threats. They told her they knew where she lived and which schools her children attended, and urged her to convert to Islam. Only conversion, they said, would assure her safety. Angela was desperate to escape, but leaving the country took years. The children were not allowed to leave without a document signed by their father; but Angela could not prove he had been killed without a death certificate, which she could not obtain without a body. “I was desperate,” she explains. “I had to lie, saying that my husband

“I did not think that I could start a new life, but my children gave me strength.”

three children, 11-year-old Meghedi, enters the home, breaking the atmosphere to ask, “Where is my ball?” The mother quickly wipes her tears so that her child does not notice them, and starts searching for the toy. “I try not to cry in front of my children anymore,” she says later. “It was, of course, very difficult to overcome. I’m a believer, but after what happened to my husband I have some anger inside me. I thought it was unfair and God must have saved him. They were killed remaining faithful to Christ until the end; they did not convert, did not become Muslims in order to live. “But then I realized that I have to overcome my anger and infinite sadness for the sake of my children.”

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worked in Lebanon and that I had to go there to see him very urgently. I did not know what I would do if I was caught. It was incredibly difficult even to go to Beirut, but once there, 15 days later we left for Armenia.” Angela arrived with her three children — 11-year-old Meghedi, 13-year-old Hovhannes and 8-yearold Movses — without a single relative or friend in Armenia. “I did not think that I could start a new life, but my children gave me strength,” she says. “The Muslim man who had been imprisoned with my husband survived. During our first phone conversation he conveyed my husband’s words to me: ‘I leave

only you in charge of our children. Let their future be outside this country. Raise them the way we would together.’ It was his will, and I will do so — and, thank God, we receive help.” That help, she explains, has come primarily from the Armenian Catholic Church and its charitable arm in Armenia, Caritas Armenia.

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aritas Armenia has been involved in projects supporting Syrian Armenian refugees since 2012. Under Archbishop Raphael François Minassian — who guides Armenian Catholics scattered in a wide swath of territory, spanning Armenia, Russia, Georgia and Eastern Europe — projects have been carried out and refugees have been given shelter at the church’s guesthouse in Yerevan. Over the last five years, this house has become home to more than 300 families. According to Armenia’s Diaspora Ministry, before the start of the war in Syria, 100,000 Armenians lived in the country, including 60,000 in Aleppo. Other cities and towns with a large Armenian presence included Kessab, Damascus and Qamishli. According to some estimates, about 130 Syrian Armenians have been killed and 379 wounded thus far in the protracted conflict. Today fewer than 15,000 Armenians remain in Aleppo. The United Nations estimates some 22,000 Syrian citizens, most of them of Armenian origin, found shelter in Armenia, where the government granted them a simplified procedure to acquire citizenship. The Catholic Church, though itself a small community of fewer than 200,000 in Armenia, acts as a support to all in need, regardless of their religious affiliation; as Archbishop Raphael often emphasizes: “In humanitarian


assistance born out of love, there can be no discrimination. Love should be shared equally for everyone.” In Armenia, the need is great. Roughly a third of the country’s three million people live in poverty. In rural areas, that number climbs to nearly half the population, with every fifth child suffering from malnutrition. In different regions, Caritas Armenia is often the only lifeline.

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aritas express of the It coordinates the Armenian

Armenia helps the social mission Catholic Church. and carries out Catholic Church’s

“Seeing all this, you completely forget all the difficulties and overcome them for the sake of that love and smiles.” The crisis brought on by the Syrian war took Caritas Armenia in a new direction, helping to assist and integrate refugees. Until recently, Caritas Armenia mainly carried out projects for humanitarian aid to Syrian Armenians, providing coupons for them to purchase food and clothing or helping them pay for rent and utilities. However, a new program to be implemented in the coming months will be focused on promoting development — helping Syrian Armenians to integrate with the community, to

says Lusine Stepanyan, the head of Caritas Armenia’s Syrian Armenian Support Program. “Through specialized business courses, individual counseling, guidance, interest-free loans,” she says, “we are going to contribute to the establishment and development of enterprises run by Syrian Armenians. In other words, instead of giving them fish, we teach them how to fish.” Such programs are a source of support and hope for many families who escaped death in the hell of war — including single mothers such as Angela. While she has received assistance and support from various programs

“I realized that I have to overcome my anger and infinite sadness for the sake of my children.”

witness to the Gospel through financial aid, social work, psychological and legal consulting, along with education, health care and various community development projects. “Difficulties are always present, but they are never an impediment for doing something,” Archbishop Raphael explains. “When we encounter difficulties, we remember the happy faces of all the people who succeeded thanks to our programs, the joy we see in the eyes of our children — when they learn something, when they are able to succeed, when they get rid of the claws of poverty through education.

found and run their own businesses and solve their social problems themselves. The new program — “Recognize, Protect, Realize” — is funded by the European Union and implemented through the partnership of Caritas Austria, Caritas Lebanon and Caritas Armenia. This project, focusing on refugees and other migrants, will assist 500 Syrian Armenian families displaced to Lebanon, plus another 600 families taking shelter in Armenia. “One of the main goals of our project is to promote the sustainable integration of Syrian Armenians, which will be implemented through assistance to their business plans,”

that have been set up to help refugees from Syria, she stresses that the Caritas programs provide something more. “At Caritas you get the human warmth and attention,” Angela says. “If it weren’t for these programs, I don’t know what I’d be doing.” Holding her daughter tightly, she turns away to wipe her tears. “We have no way back,” she says. “Our home and factory in Aleppo probably aren’t there anymore.” But in the midst of so much loss, she sees rays of hope. “Our new home is here,” she declares. “We integrate into this new life with the Lord’s grace and support.” 

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focus

on the world of CNEWA

“The church will be there to walk with them…”


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an you begin to imagine the terror of being set upon by soldiers who assault your town or city and demand that you either renounce your Christian faith and accept a perverted form of a Caliphate-based Islamic State, pay a ransom or flee for your life? This was the reality that confronted hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians, Yazidis and many Muslims in Iraq in 2014. Within a few days, more than 130,000 Christians in the Nineveh Plain of Iraq fled to what amounted to a “foreign” land in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan. They became refugees in settlement camps. What has happened to those who settled in these camps and what does the future hold for the displaced? Having visited Kurdistan recently, I have seen firsthand some of the liberated towns and cities previously

held by ISIS. I can personally attest to the devastation of some towns and villages, the desecration of holy places and objects, the total theft of or destruction of all personal property. But the basic structures remain. However, I want to share with you an ongoing dilemma confronting Christians and other displaced people. It is the emotion-filled question: Should I return to my “liberated” town, village or city? First of all, ISIS has been cleared from most of the towns of the Nineveh Plain and northern Iraq. There are still pockets of violence and occupation, but many cities and towns, including the city of Qaraqosh — which previously had a Christian population of about 55,000 souls — are free of ISIS. Approximately two-thirds of those displaced remain in camps. So why aren’t they hurrying back home?

p Some Christian families have moved back to their home village of Tel Eskof. t The convent of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Qaraqosh sustained damage during the occupation.

Over the past 30 months, some have struck out for Jordan and settled there, while others have found their way to Australia, Europe or Canada. Some have met more horror, suffering and even death in other lands. In many cases, one or two family members have tried to settle in another country, which has left many remnant families living in the camps feeling broken and separated from those they love. There are some who claim that they will never return to their native place because it “will never be the same” and they openly wonder

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whom they can trust, since many felt betrayed by neighbors when ISIS first assaulted them. But the overwhelming need for those who are still considering returning home is the need for security at several levels. They seek assurances of a national government that guarantees them protection and their basic human and religious rights; they also seek local governance that will provide basic services; and they especially want freedom to maintain their faith and to worship as they please. The insecurities are deep and the trust is lacking, so many have decided to wait and see before they make their final decision to return or to move on, whatever that might mean. Despite the uncertainties and all the misery that accompanies those who Iraqis in a refugee camp in Erbil greet Msgr. Kozar on his pastoral visit.

are displaced, they find in the church a source of comfort and hope. Through Christ’s sacramental presence in the Eucharist and in many good works of charity and mercy, the church represents for them a beacon of the light of Christ and a reason to endure. Nothing is certain for the refugees, except the love of God for all, especially as Jesus has shared with them on the cross. CNEWA is privileged to accompany those who have been traumatized by the terror of ISIS and who were forced to flee. They have never been orphaned, but have always been cradled in the hands of those who serve in the church — the hands of the bishops and priests celebrating the Eucharist, the hands of the sisters teaching the little ones and caring for the sick, the hands of those who minister in so many

ways to help meet the material needs of the poor and displaced. Whether these people return to their place of origin or move on to the unknown — or, perhaps, make a new life in their displacement areas — the church will be there to walk with them. Thank you for your prayers and gifts of support. As long as we accompany them, these people are not really displaced. They are, instead, beloved members of our family. May God bless you and may God bless all the victims in Iraq.

Msgr. John E. Kozar


CNEWAaapapal papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support CNEWA agency for humanitarian and pastoral support 1011 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022-4195 • 1-212-826-1480 • cnewa@cnewa.org 1011 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022-4195

1-800-442-6392

www.cnewa.org

1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K9 • 1-866-322-4441 • www.cnewa.ca

One Magazine June 2017  

Official publication of Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA)

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