Yesterday, the Christian world celebrated the yearly commemoration of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ in a manger in Bethlehem, more than two millennia ago. It was a humble birth for He who was to be the Saviour of all humankind, God the son, the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. Soon after his birth, this vulnerable baby and His family were to become refugees as they fled to Egypt escaping persecution by King Herod, who had all innocent male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem slain. This year, let us remember those innocent and vulnerable children who are also refugees escaping persecution and certain death. I would especially like to bring your attention to two active Assyrian charities operating within Turkey.
Firstly, the Chaldean-Assyrian International Humanitarian Association (Keldani-Asuri Yard?mla?ma Derne?i – KADER), which largely assists Christian Assyrian refugees from Iraqi, currently in Turkey – the number of which fluctuates between 40,000 and 50,000, scattered in about 60 cities across the country. It is an NGO in partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and maintains an office staffed by a team of multi-lingual volunteers in the building of the Chaldean Catholic community in Istanbul. They welcome donations of money in order to support their work and activities.
KADER provides administrative assistance (registration and liaison with UNHCR, compilation and translation of documents), medical assistance (financial support for medical examinations, psychological and psychiatric support, vaccinations, financial aid for operations and intensive treatment, and counselling), educational and social assistance (education for expecting mothers, courses on refugee rights, orientation to Turkey’s laws and social life, preparation for integration in future host country financial aid for education of children aged 5-14, courses in English, Assyrian-Chaldean, Turkish, Mathematics, History, Geography, Computer Science and Physical Education), and daily living assistance (support and orientation, legal and housing assistance, food and clothing distribution, and interpreting services)
Secondly, Qnushyo, a centre with activities and events aimed at improving the health (especially mental), community spirit, cultural knowledge, peaceful dialogue and societal integration of Assyrian refugees from Syria, currently in Istanbul. It tries to gather these refugees together and keep them socially active, in order to make their stay in Turkey a more positive experience. They welcome donations of books, toys, pens and paper, and especially money (to help in paying rent).
Qnushyo runs a drop-in centre for the refugees in a house that it rents in the Yedikule neighbourhood of Istanbul, and is staffed by volunteers from Turkey, the USA, Germany, Sweden and the UK. It includes a day care and school for refugee children, where they are taught subjects such as Turkish, Assyrian (Syriac), English, Science, Maths, Biology, Handicrafts, Sports, Dance and Cooking. Their activities for children also include workshops, summer schools, pool parties, beach days, as well as zoo and aquarium visits. There are also Swedish, German, English and Turkish classes for adults.
Please donate generously.
Merry Christmas – ‘Edho Brikho – ‘Edhokhon Brikha