“Elias” fled Syria with his family to escape Islamic State (IS) militants after his brother was killed. He managed to get work as a concierge, looking after a block of apartments. The wages were not enough to support the family of five, but at least the job came with a small and rudimentary flat in which they lived, including their disabled daughter. Then came an opportunity to move to Italy, and Elias decided to take it up, going ahead of the rest of the family. But he found himself living in a camp surrounded by IS supporters. Italy was therefore too dangerous for him as a Christian, and he returned to Lebanon.
Meanwhile, his son “Rony” had been falsely accused of possessing drugs. Rony spent nine months in prison in Beirut before his innocence was proved. This period in jail left him in severe psychological distress, which has needed medical help. The family are in great need of financial support.
“Afram” is another Syrian Christian who fled with his wife and three children to try to settle in Lebanon. They managed to support themselves somehow, until Afram began to have heart problems. He was told he would die unless he had open heart surgery. Our project partners in Lebanon paid for the surgery, which was successful, but he is not yet well enough to work. Without his earnings, the family does not have enough to live on.
No aid from UN
Many Syrian Christian families have fled war and anti-Christian persecution in recent years. The majority are in Lebanon, like the families of Elias and Afram. Very few dare to live in the refugee camps dominated by Muslim Syrians, so they get no help from the UN and refugee agencies. They must find a way to survive on their own, three or four people living in one small rented room.
They search desperately for any kind of work, but the Lebanese host community are in a terrible plight themselves and need all the jobs there are.
Most of the Syrian Christians in Lebanon have not been able to get residency permits. Even to renew a Syrian passport in Lebanon costs about £300 ($400; €340) – how does a family who may not have money for food manage to renew a passport, so vital to their hope of settling down permanently, somewhere safe, outside of Syria?
Help a Syrian Christian refugee family survive
Your gift today will help our Syrian brothers and sisters, who have sought refuge in other countries of the region. Our project partners will use it to help with rent, medical treatment, food and other basic needs.
Please give now.