A REFUGE FROM WAR
In summer 2017, FAI Relief began pioneering in an isolated and impoverished area of southern Syria. We have been privileged to serve as part of Operation Good Neighbor, Israel's humanitarian answer to the hemorrhaging Syrian crisis. Our teams have been engaged in medical ministry on the ground in a number of strategic locations.
Motivated by the Great Commission, over thirty medical providers—doctors, surgeons, paramedics, nurses—have served courageously and faithfully in the heart of this horrific war zone. They have won the trust and admiration of both the local Syrian population and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). With this trust in hand, it’s now time to turn our attention to the next generation of Syrians.
We entered Syria equipped to meet immediate needs and build with a long-term vision. Guided by our four-stage strategy as we pioneer, we are excited to launch The Refuge: a center for children and families to weather the storm of the war without forfeiting educational and developmental growth.
Find out more about our work in the IDF's Good Neighbor operation here.
Three million Syrian children are under the age of seven—meaning the only world and life they have ever known is the trauma of the Syrian Civil War. Every Syrian child over the age of seven knows what it feels like for barrel bombs, turmoil, and death to interrupt and devastate their lives.
Every home in our community has lost a casualty to the war. Someone is dead. Someone is missing. Someone’s body is broken somehow.
The future of Syria is made up of uneducated, wounded, scared, and angry children and young adults. These are the individuals who will be tasked with rebuilding their shattered country.
WHEN 'PTSD' ISN'T ENOUGH
During our first year in Syria, we saw first-hand the toll war and terror take on children; more than the cost to their physical bodies, their hearts and minds are suffering the greatest trauma.
The psychological wounds of the war were visible when we arrived, but are clearly evident now. We have seen the bright eyes of many children grow dimmer. PTSD is an insufficient diagnosis—more accurately, these children are experiencing Human Devastation Syndrome.
The children in Syria are experiencing toxic stress. Syria’s schools have been destroyed; with them, the future of Syrian children is in jeopardy.
Many are now left with Human Devastation Syndrome and special learning needs. Imagine a generation of children experiencing endemic of prolonged bed wetting, stuttered speech, lethargic bodies, and stunted motor skills. They have legs that haven’t learned to skip and hands that have never held paint brushes.
For many, Syria's war means a life with no color, no toys, no playgrounds, no balls, no parks, and no fun. No school to play with their friends. Just a crumbled, concrete jungle that has become a prison. Bombs hitting at any minute. The children have cousins in nearby towns they have never met, because travel is too dangerous. Poverty runs rampant. Mothers are too scared to let their children leave the house.
There appears to be no hope, no future.
BELIEVE, HOPE, & ENDURE ALL THINGS
The Apostle Paul wrote of love, that it believes, hopes, and endures all things. The best witness of Jesus we can offer Syria right now, ripped apart by the carnage of conflict and civil war, is a living testimony of the eternal love that changed our own lives and destiny.
We believe that there is hope for these children through the establishment of ‘The Refuge’—a safe place to de-stress, talk, paint, play, laugh, cry, socialize, and have opportunities for normal childhood development. A place to help children process and communicate feelings related to their experiences and to express themselves. A place dripping with color, toys, games, paint and life—a place for children to be children.
HOW YOU CAN HELP BUILD THE REFUGE
Launching The Refuge requires thousands of dollars to collect and transport materials into Syria. Sustaining The Refuge requires committed financial support and solidarity to operate the center. Every dollar matters, and every penny goes to fund the work on the ground. No one in FAI Relief takes a salary; every member of our team serves as a volunteer. This means all money given to Syria goes to Syria. Every dollar designated for these kids funds their future.
We have solid personnel on the ground, the invaluable logistical support of the IDF, and the indispensable blessing of the Syrians to develop a long-term ministry to the next generation of Syrians in one of the most strategic and brutal regions on earth.
If you are medically trained and willing to do difficult things, apply to join our teams today.
If you are invested in the effort and want to sow into Syria's future, make a financial contribution to build the refuge today. All contributions are tax-deductible in the United States.