Foundation helps Iraqi and Syrian Christians return home

Foundation helps Iraqi and Syrian Christians return home

Clémence Houdaille

Originally dedicated to supporting lepers, the Raoul Follereau Foundation has broadened its range of action and is now implementing projects to assist Christians in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain region and Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

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A Hospital in Aleppo, Syria, has received a scanner. In the coastal city of Tartus, thirty women are learning sewing and makeup skills. At Homs, social and educational aid is the priority.

Among the six countries served by the office of the Raoul Follereau Foundation in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq occupy pride of place in the organization’s projects.

The Raoul Follereau Foundation has broadened its scope in recent years from its original field of action, namely aid to lepers, and now works against various forms of exclusion, including poverty and ignorance.

“Since 2011 we have been working on emergency aid to Syria, particularly to hospitals, to assist residents to get through the war,” says Roger Khairallah, the Foundation’s project leader for the Middle East. Khairallah is on a visit to France.

“We are also working on development projects to enable the return of Syrian refugees in Lebanon who are kept there by the lack of employment at home.”

In Iraq, the Foundation’s aid is focused on Christians who were forced to leave their homes in 2014 during the ISIS invasion of the Nineveh Plain.

Six houses have been rebuilt that will enable 90 Christian and Yazidi students from the University of Mosul and Qaraqosh to continue their studies.

“The university will reopen in Qaraqosh by 2018,” says Khairallah. “We are going to help the students to return to do their studies.”

More than 1,000 families have already returned to live in the Christian majority city of Qaraqosh plus 150 families in Bartella, according to Khairallah.

“We are developing income generation projects there so that Christians will be able to remain in their villages. Cattle and sheep breeding has also been started as well as fish farming projects and pickle farming in Alqosh."

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 18:31
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