The bishop of Zahlé, in the Bekaa Valley, administers the project.
We are in the city of Zalehj, in one of the Lebanese valleys that borders Syria. Hundreds of Christian families from Syria and Iraq have arrived in this area, like that of Mihdam, who have received lodging and care from members of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
“The fact that we got here is a miracle. We had been left homeless. I had a business. I was the owner and they looted everything and stole our cars. They took everything from us, including our wedding rings, and so we arrived here with nothing.”
The Syriac Orthodox Bishop of the area, Boulos Safar, has provided food and lodging to many of these refugees. For this, it was decided to turn the home for the elderly into a residence for refugee families.
Here, within these walls, they hope to welcome Syriac and Iraqi Christians until they find a way out of their current situation. An essential service of the Church is to care for children.
“They have been psychologically affected. We have lived through a tragedy. We have spent seven months without being able to sleep. One of my sons has seen a social worker for psychological help. So much has changed. In a short amount of time they have gone from attending a school in Baghdad to one in Kurdistan and now here in Lebanon. I do not know what will be the future of my children.”
Since 2010, the year in which an attack on the church in his neighborhood in Baghdad killed more than 50 Christians, Mihdam’s family has not been able to set foot in a church. Now, in this part of Lebanon, they have recovered a sense of hope.
For his part, Bishop Safar is appealing to the generosity of Christians in the West to provide funds to complete the work of restructuring the residence for refugee families.