March 15th marked the completion of the sixth year of the ongoing Syria crisis with no clear resolution in sight. In fact, the situation does not seem to be improving. It’s getting worse, especially for children.
Children’s right to education is also in extreme jeopardy.
One in three schools in Syria are destroyed. There were 87 attacks specifically on schools or school personnel. In these attacks, 255 children were killed or injured at or near a school. Today, 1.75 million children in Syria have no school. Over half a million Syrian refugee children are out of school.
After six years of hearing news reports and aid agency updates and appeals, you might be tired of hearing about this crisis. I’m tired of it, too.
My husband and I moved to Lebanon last summer to support the work of Food for the Hungry’s implementing partner, LSESD. Through them, we FH donors help to equip and support local Lebanese and Syrian churches to respond to the needs of the Syrian community both in Syria and Lebanon.
Week after week, we meet new families. Each tells an equally heartbreaking story of tremendous need. We are growing weary. Not weary of the work, but weary of the pain. The pain that many of these families have experienced is too much to bear.
Like Ahmed, a father of two. He could not hold back the tears as he told of the bomb that hit his son’s school, killing many children and teachers inside. His son was spared, but Ahmed inside was consumed by this unimaginable tragedy, remembering the faces of his son’s friends and their parents.
Or Rasha and Marwan, with a son who is stunted from an unknown disease that causes him to repeatedly vomit and have diarrhea. With many additional medical costs, and not enough to afford extensive care, they are often filled with hopelessness.
It’s too much. It’s just too much.
I’ve thought over the past few weeks that it would be so much easier to withdraw, to remove myself from the pain, avoid the heartbreaking stories, news updates and statistics. But I am reminded that I am only hearing a fraction of these stories. God continues to hear them all and to care deeply about each and every one.
To experience this pain and allow my heart to be broken, as difficult as it is, is to allow myself to experience a tiny bit of what God experiences when he sees his children in pain. God has given us the unique ability to experience his heart and share in the pain of fellow human beings. To do this is to love.
So as the Syria crisis enters its seventh year, I encourage you to not grow weary.
Don’t grow weary of hearing the stories and statistics. Continue to allow yourself to be broken by the tragedy of Syrian families in crisis. See them each as individuals, as fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and children. Share their pain.
And I encourage you to not grow weary of doing good. Churches in Syria and Lebanon and still responding, and will continue responding as long as children and families continue to have great need. They need your support, and they need your prayer so that they do not grow weary.
Here are three ways you can take action today:
Support the work of FH’s implementing partner LSESD in Syria and Lebanon: In partnership with the Integral Alliance and LSESD, Food for the Hungry helps provide food, shelter, hygiene kits, educational assistance, child-friendly spaces, psychosocial support and more. To learn more and to help with this life-saving work go to www.fh.org/syria.
Support Children In Crisis: If you are currently a Child Sponsor through FH you can help children in crisis, like those in Lebanon and Syria, by contributing an additional $4 a month. This small amount can make a huge difference in supporting the basic needs of children in crisis.
Learn and Pray: Want to learn more about the plight of refugees? Today, there are more refugees than at any other time in history. Download Food for the Hungry’s free ebook, More Than a Refugee, to learn more about the refugee crisis, how life as a refugee destroys children’s futures, and steps you can take to make a difference.