Having no other choice than to leave house, work and friends would be quite traumatic, but a million and a half Syrians have had to flee from the “hot” regions of their land and head toward less dangerous ones. And according to the latest UN numbers, 311,000 have sought haven in countries along the border: Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. There is no way to predict when they will be able to return home or what they will find if they do.
There is no foreseeable solution to the conflict situation that has put government forces and opposition forces on opposite sides. On the contrary, there is fear that the crisis will extend to the international level.
And yet, the wind of the Arab Spring had raised hopes in the power of nonviolence and in the push towards a peaceful democratic reform in the country where peaceful coexistence among different religious groups has never aroused serious problems. Then everything fell.
While still new diplomatic solutions are being sought, and hoping that the true soul of the Syrian people can emerge and fulfil its aspirations of peaceful coexistence without fragmenting the country, attempts are being made to assist the population.
The Focolare in Lebanon is on the front lines in aiding the refugees. There the communities have responded generously to this emergency situation, placing everything they could at their disposal: money and goods. Some Syrian families have been given lodging at the Mariapolis Centre in Ain Aar, while others are being hosted in other parts of the country. “They would like to return to Syria,” they write from the Movement in Lebanon, “but the situation doesn’t allow it. Therefore we’ve enrolled the children in Lebanese schools as we wait to see how things evolve. The refugees give what they can, but the cost of living in Lebanon is five times higher than in Syria, and their economic resources quickly run out.”
Meanwhile, in Syria, the progressive loss of work for the closure of many factories, the collapse of trade and rising prices of basic commodities, especially oil and gas, makes life a drama for many families and their future very disturbing. Therefore it is important not to leave the population alone and without help, but to offer every possible aid.
United World Association (AMU), an NGO inspired by the spirituality of the Focolare Movement, coordinates funds and emergency assistance in collaboration with local groups. At the moment the funds that have been gathered are used to provide basic supplies (food, housing, health care fees) to for refugee families and families that have fled within Syria. In Lebanon refugee children are being enrolled in Lebanese schools.
Anyone wishing to make a financial contribution to assist the Syrian people, may do so using the following bank account details:
ACCOUNT NAME: Associazione Azione per un Mondo Unito
BANK NAME: Banca Popolare Etica (Rome branch)
Description: “Aiuti alle famiglie siriane” (Emergency aid to Syrian families) or “Scolarizzazione bambini siriani” (“Syrian children schooling”)