Ministry Helps Fleeing Iraqi Families

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More than 2 million Iraqis, including Christians, have fled their country seeking a safe and secure place to raise their families.

Nine-year-old Ghadeer Husin is one such child who has seen the devastation of war. She has studied English and various other subjects since leaving Iraq with her mother four years ago.

Not knowing whether her father is dead or alive, she is among the thousands of refugees who've left Iraq and crossed the border into Jordan fleeing the escalation of violence.

"I've seen missiles flying over. Soldiers everywhere," she said. "It wasn't safe so we came to Jordan."

Jordan Overflows with Iraqis

Once a teacher in Baghdad, Jackeen Mausnr, who is also a Christian, now teaches at Al-bawsel Community Center in Zarqa, Jordan --an informal education program operated by World Vision.

There she helps Iraqi children try to overcome their experiences back home.

Some 2 million Iraqis have sought refuge in neighboring countries, fleeing the insecurity and violence of their homeland. Children are the most vulnerable among the war-affected population.

There are an estimated 700,000 Iraqi refugees in Jordan, 200,000 school-aged children, 24,000 regularly attending school.

Some say Jordan plays the role of "big brother" to many of its neighboring countries due to its stability.

Iraqis now account for more than 10 percent of the total population. Although the vast majorities are not confined in camps, most are denied legal status - meaning they can't legally work and provide for their families.

World Vision Declares Emergency

In March 2007, World Vision declared the Iraqi refugee crisis a "category three" emergency. In September 2008, the group was formally recognized by the Jordanian government as an NGO.

"We have emergency wings meeting immediate needs of refugees," said Elizabeth Satow, acting program manager of World Vision Jordan.

Satow says this is the single largest displacement of persons the group has seen in the last half century, which poses a serious threat to the safety and well-being of innocent children and their families, and put the host countries' services and infrastructure under severe pressure.

Many of the refugees also face disorders that need significant attention.

"There will be other refugee movements in other countries...getting poorer over time," she said.

Iraqis Keep Hope

Many refugees who have found shelter in Jordan fear returning to Iraq to find their homes either destroyed or occupied by someone else. Convoys of returning Iraqis leave Amman once or twice a month, but the chance to go home rarely attracts more than a few dozen people.

"There are many who do want to go back home, but there are a lot who have just had enough [and] prefer to be resettled elsewhere," Satow said.

Many of thes children are a long way from the hot dessert sand of Iraq, finding hope and purpose for a new day.

The Iraqis' work hard, writing a new script for their lives, even drawing pictures to express the pain and anguish caused by war.

While it was violence and terrorism that brought the Iraqis' to Jordan, it is the love of God shared by World Vision teachers and volunteers that help put a new song in their hearts.

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CBN News
Russ Jones

Russ Jones

CBN News

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