Earlier this month, Shai Fund went in to Turkey and Iraq to investigate the needs of Christian refugees who have fled Iraq and Syria, and to deliver aid to those Christians still displaced in Northern Iraq and Northern Syria.
It is a dangerous journey passing through nine borders, but for families under the constant threat of violence, civil war and persecution, it is a risk they are willing to take to get to safety. They arrive with meager belongings, exhausted from all they have been through. Those lucky enough to escape are desperate to call home and tell those left behind that they are safe.
They were all around 75 years old. One could not talk at all. They were left behind as they could not even walk, let alone run from ISIS. One told his family to leave, as he could not make the trip from Mosul to Erbil. So they left him in Mosul. Even those families that thought they could leave with their cars, money, and passports were caught at the checkpoint.
A Shai Fund team will be traveling back to northern Iraq this coming week to assist the thousands of refugees who have fallen victim to the atrocities of the Islamic State (IS). One of the projects that Shai Fund will support while in Iraq will be with the internally displaced person (IDP) Christian community in Erbil.
It’s 05:45 o'clock in the morning at the Munich airport. A small team of volunteers meet, their suitcases full of items and clothing for children, and of course full of expectations for the week to come! Within a short time we are sitting in the plane with our course set to Erbil, northern Iraq. High up in the heaven we see the sun rising and everybody feels, this trip is something special.
Kurdistan, December 2014 - Shai Fund sent a team of aid workers and medical doctors into northern Iraq to assist the displaced persons that have fled ISIS. Working mostly in villages and camps with the minority groups from the Assyrian, Chaldean and Yezidi communities, much needed food aid and warm blankets were given out in bleak winter conditions.
Ainkawa, the Christians suburb in Erbil has absorbed 120,000 Christians. Christians that fled their ancient lands. They come from places with names like the Ninevah plains that remind us of our Bible readings.
The thousands of Christian, Yazidi and other minority groups who fled to Erbil, Kurdistan, to escape the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) are now facing a very different foe in the form of the oncoming winter for which they are ill prepared.