Sharing the Journey with Syrian Refugees
15 Jun 18
On September 27, 2017, Pope Francis began the Caritas ‘Share the Journey’ migration campaign, making the now recognisable ‘Reach Out’ gesture.
This motion of wide outreaching arms is now a symbol for the campaign, demonstrating the action of meeting migrants, listening to their stories and sharing in their journeys.
Richard Wainwright, Caritas Australia
From June 17-24, the Global Action Week is taking place, with the Caritas network further promoting the campaign and encouraging people to learn and embrace refugees and migrants across the world.
Caritas Australia works in partnership with the global Caritas network to provide practical help to refugees and migrants, while restoring hope and dignity. Caritas advocates for the care and protection of refugees and migrants and for their human rights to be upheld.
One of the main ways that Caritas is doing this work is by standing with Syrian refugees who are seeking refuge in neighbouring countries like Jordan and Lebanon. The Syrian war has led to the largest displacement crisis in the world since World War II, with over half the country’s pre-war population having been forcibly displaced and over an estimated five million people seeking refuge in neighbouring countries Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Caritas in Lebanon
Caritas Australia is providing support and empowerment for women who have faced domestic violence in Lebanon. Through the jointly funded Caritas Oaktree shelter, an innovative support and empowerment program, Caritas Australia is equipping the survivors of the Syrian civil war and their families to make a smoother transition into their new homelands.
Most of the women are escaping gender-based violence either resulting from domestic violence, human trafficking, or the increased likelihood of violence due to being a refugee.
While the shelter is open to women of any nationality, the reality is that most of the women are refugees from Syria.
The typical stay is several weeks and sometimes months as it takes time for the women and the shelter team to find a sustainable solution after their stay at the shelter. While at Oaktree, women receive protection, medical, legal and psychosocial support, life-skills training, recreational activities and food, clothes and hygiene items.
Caritas in Jordan
Bayan is a 12 year old Syrian girl, living with her family in Jordan. As an ambitious student Bayan has her eyes set on a career as an ophthalmologist.
"Before the war in Syria, we were safe. We lived a comfortable life," says Hanan, Bayan’s mother.
"Everything was all right in terms of living expenses, and the availability of education for the kids."
The Syrian conflict turned their lives upside down. "I do not recall anything before the war broke out, as I was very young," says Bayan. "I only recall missile attacks. We used to think we were already dead, with each bomb that was dropped."
Forced to evacuate for Jordan on foot, Bayan and her family have begun new lives. The trauma of her experience has exposed Bayan to many challenges, but through Academic support provided by Caritas Jordan and its partners, Caritas Jordan and Catholic Relief Services, she is moving forward with her education and her future, once again.
School has the power to lift us up, so we can reach our goals and learn quickly
Bayan started attending one of Jordan’s Caritas Schools which operates on Saturdays, providing tuition to disadvantaged students. The school enables young people like Bayan to catch up and integrate into the Jordanian school system.
"There are 8000 refugee students who study in our 25 schools," says Abeer, Caritas Education and Protection Co-ordinator. "The school brings them back to a normal life, as they start to dream again."
Bayan’s mother says school changed Bayan’s psychological state, giving her a sense of tranquillity. "I would not be able to read and write," says Bayan.
"I would feel lost, as if I knew nothing about the world. School has the power to lift us up, so we can reach our goals and learn quickly."
Through your support of Caritas Australia you are Sharing the Journey with refugee children like Bayan, and empowering them and their families to build new lives.
Caritas Australia is grateful for the ongoing support of the Australian government through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership.