The Old Testament is clear that we are to love our neighbours as ourselves. A scholar asked Jesus the obvious question that flows from this command: “Who is my neighbour?” Jesus’ response to the question, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, makes it clear that our neighbours are not only those who are like us—people who look like us and who share our values and beliefs. Our neighbours are those people who need our care and love.
Please give to Anglican Aid’s End of Financial Year Appeal and care for our neighbours in need.
Neighbours like Dimoua
When Anglican Aid’s partner, Reem Bourizk, first met Dimoua (which means 'tears' in Arabic) she was a 10 year old refugee from Syria. She had recently crossed the border from Syria and was living in a makeshift community of tents on a farm outside Reem’s village in northern Lebanon. Dimoua only had rags to wear, no shoes, and was caring for her younger siblings.
When Reem asked Dimoua what gift she would most like to receive, the girl answered, ‘a notebook and pen.’ This simple request prompted Reem and her husband, Emil, to start a school for Syrian refugee children in their home, the School of the Good Shepherd.
The school has changed lives. Not only the lives of Dimoua and the other Syrian children and their families, who now have some hope for the future, but also the lives of people living in the village. There is deep antagonism in much of Lebanon towards Syrians, stemming from Syria’s involvement in Lebanon’s civil war in the 1980s. When Syrian refugees first arrived in Emil and Reem’s village (which is predominantly Christian) there was suspicion and hostility to the newcomers. In fact, when Reem went to purchase the notebook and pen for Dimoua at a local shop, the shopkeeper at first refused to sell the items to her when she learned that they were for a Syrian child.
Now, many families in the village are involved in the school – hosting classes in their garages and driving the mini-bus to the surrounding farms to collect the children for classes each day.
Dimoua is now flourishing at school, and she is known as Farah, which means ‘joy’!
Neighbours like Ananya*
As a young girl, Ananya was a promising student. She was orphaned at age 9 and went to live with an uncle and aunt who promised to let her continue her studies. Her uncle started sexually abusing Ananya. He threatened that if she said anything, she would never finish school. The abuse continued for several years until the uncle’s violence forced Ananya to seek treatment at a local hospital. From there, she was referred to Anglican Aid’s partner, the Bangalore Women’s Safe House. At the safe house she received care, counselling for the trauma she had experienced, and was supported through legal proceedings against her uncle. The safe house provided financial assistance to allow Ananya to continue her studies.
In a culture where girls are often seen as a liability, where early marriage is common, and a fear of shame places enormous pressure on victims to conceal their suffering, there are many women and girls like Ananya who need a refuge and support to escape domestic abuse.
Every woman who works at the safe house has herself experienced domestic abuse. Prompted by their own experience of suffering and Jesus’ love and care for them, their goal is to support the women in their care move from being victims to survivors. Over time, the women become advocates – women who can speak in their communities about the problems of domestic violence, who can promote the work of the Bangalore Women’s Safe House, and who can help others escape abuse and find love and care.
With the support of the safe house, Ananya finished high school and completed a degree in economics. She has now started a law degree and her goal is to be an effective legal advocate for other victims of sexual abuse.*name has been changed
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