For each of the six weeks of Lent, the Diocese of Parramatta is sharing one of Caritas Australia’s feature stories of lives changed through support and empowerment programs.
THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT – 4 March, 2018
The seven-year conflict in Syria has claimed over 400,000 lives and displaced more than half of the country’s 22 million people. Caritas Australia is helping Syrian refugee children impacted by the war to continue their education.
Bayan is a 12-year-old girl Syrian girl living with her family in Jordan.
She grew up in the Syria’s capital Damascus, living with her parents and six siblings. Her father was a construction worker and her mother a housewife.
“Before the war in Syria, we were safe. We lived a comfortable life,” says Hanan, Bayan’s mother.
“Everything was alright in terms of living expenses and the availability of education for the kids.”
The Syrian conflict turned their lives upside down and they were forced to flee to Jordan.
As the family’s time in Jordan extended, Caritas Australia and its partners, Caritas Jordan and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) stepped in to provide vital academic and psychosocial support through the Caritas Education Program.
Bayan started attending one of Jordan’s Caritas Schools which operate on Saturdays, providing tuition to disadvantaged students.
“The school brings them back to a normal life, as they start to dream again,” says Abeer, Caritas Education Protection Coordinator.
Bayan’s mother says that attending school has changed Bayan’s psychological state, giving her a sense of tranquillity.
“I would not be able to read and write,” says Bayan. “School has the power to lift us up, so we can reach our goals and learn quickly.”
Caritas provides a broad range of other education services, including preparing pre-school children for school and supporting students who have missed out on schooling to return to the education system.
When it is safe Bayan’s family would like to return to Syria. Bayan is determined to continue her studies regardless of where she lives.
“I would like to become the best ophthalmologist, as sight is the most important thing in our lives. If it wasn’t for sight, we would not be able to read, write or learn.”
Please donate to Project Compassion 2018 and help to bring stability and equip young people like Bayan in the future. A just future starts with you.
This year Caritas Australia, the International Aid and Development Agency of the Catholic Church in Australia, highlights the way that the pursuit of ‘Just Future’ is changing lives. Youth are the future leaders of their societies, and are the focus of this liturgical, ‘Year of Youth’, in Australia. During Lent, Australians are invited to support Project Compassion by making a donation, or by hosting fundraising events in their local school, parish, community or neighbourhood. Supporters can also to share their stories on social media at #ProjectCompassion. To donate to Project Compassion or for fundraising ideas visit www.caritas.org.au/projectcompassion or phone 1800 024 413.