Monday, May 12, 2014

Fleeing conflict and violence back home, refugees from Syria and Iraq praised the Catholic humanitarian agencies helping them to cope with their trauma while starting a new life in their adopted safe haven of Jordan. "We've come out of a nightmarish and desperate time. We're trying to regain some semblance of normalcy in life," said Um Ahmed, a Syrian refugee woman attending a life skills class run by the Jesuit Refugee Service in the Jordanian capital. The Roman Catholic Bishops' School perched on one of Amman's high hills buzzes with classes of refugees learning English, Arabic literacy, computer skills, handicrafts and cooking conducted after regular classes conclude. Living became impossible in Ahmed's northern Syrian city of Aleppo because of constant fighting and government bombardments. "My family was also extremely afraid because people were being detained and had disappeared. We feared for our lives," she told Catholic News Service. "Leaving everything, our work and possessions behind, we had to start from scratch again here," Ahmed said. Ahmed is among than 600 refugees who are slowly getting back on their feet through JRS-sponsored programs that include home visits, psychosocial support, educational opportunities for children and adults and college degree preparation. The organization also provides food parcels and hygiene kits. This is the Catholic Church I want to be a part of. My Church is there for those who struggle. We stand for those who are unable: the unborn, the poor, even non-Christians.