Exhausted, malnourished and traumatised.
That was how they arrived in Armenia last September.
Do you remember?
Do you remember those dreadful few days when almost 120,000 Armenian Christians fled their beloved homeland, Nagorno-Karabakh, to seek safety in Armenia?
They had already endured over nine months of deprivation and near-starvation, due to an Azerbaijani blockade. Then Azerbaijan invaded and seized the territory in which Armenians had lived for 2,500 years. Almost the entire population of Nagorno-Karabakh crammed themselves into cars or other transport and joined the queue to cross the narrow mountain pass into Armenia.
“On September 25, we left our house with seven people in our own car and were on the road for three days,” recalls Elizaveta, whose husband is hearing impaired. It was a journey that would normally take a few hours.
How are they living now?
“We live by the grace of God, giving glory every evening and morning. It gives us strength to cope,” says grandmother Anahit.
Armenia is a poor country. Its government is struggling to help the refugees. But the Church, with funding from Barnabas, is supporting the neediest families – and giving them spiritual counsel too.
Elizaveta is using the money to buy food for her family.
Hasmik, a biology teacher, has used it to buy winter clothes and shoes for her children. The youngest is a baby born during the blockade.
Our project partner describes the positive effect on the refugees’ emotional wellbeing: “By providing financial aid and spiritual support, the programme has brought hope, comfort and a sense of solidarity.”
Some of the refugees are staying with distant relatives. Others are staying in church halls or similar. This temporary situation cannot continue for long.
The newcomers need jobs so they can support themselves and rent proper accommodation. Then they will need furniture and equipment for their new homes.
Barnabas stands ready to help them. Will you join with us?
How you can help
£30 ($36; €33) could help with emergency needs for one Armenian Christian refugee from Nagorno-Karabakh