The Los Angeles-based ministry/advocate group, Justice Rising International, is asking churches to invest in the education of children in war-torn Syria by sending financial donations that would go toward sending them to school this year and next.
“We keep hearing about the violence in Syria, the incomprehensible pain and suffering of fellow humans, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ,” Nicole Watts, Justice Rising’s Strategic Development Manager, wrote in a recent article for Church.org. She asks: “How are we as the church in America going to respond?”
In April, a Justice Rising team went to Syria, “going from house to house meeting with those who suffered from war,” Watts writes. “Over a cup of thick coffee and some small cookies we asked many people what their greatest needs were. Without hesitation they all replied, ‘When you leave, tell the church not to forget about us. We are watching them from here and we see how many are responding to Syria. But we need them. Tell them this is our greatest hour of need, and we need the help of the global church community.’”
In the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, a school recently re-opened after being closed for two years as the result of the conflict, according to Justice Rising. The organization wants to help the school and its students.
The school was founded with Christian roots and fights against extreme ideology in a predominantly Muslim context. Some of the best teachers have fled, students are traumatized by the war, money is hard to come by and bombs are a constant reminder that each day could be their last.
“We as a church have the opportunity to respond and support the 880 students that are currently attending this school,” Watts wrote. “Teachers need to be paid, materials need to be purchased and the building needs to be repaired from the bombing.”
Watts continued, “As the sound of bombs could be heard in the distance, Cassandra (Justice Rising Co-Founder) asked at what point they should respond and become worried. Their response: ‘We don’t know. We don’t know when they will strike. When a bomb comes and you feel it hit the house, that’s when it’s a concern. But we don’t know when that will be. So we keep living. All we know is that God is good. Even still. He is our protector.’”
Justice Rising team members asked the headmaster of the school why he continued to stay and work in Syria, “surely no one would have blamed him for leaving.”
“After the war, everything was damaged in a critical way. All the furniture was stolen. We had nothing. But we knew the power of education. That is the greatest tool to end terrorism, building schools. So we restarted and opened up our classes. We are growing a generation that knows what the word ‘love’ means,” he said.
Every house we visited we seemed to find individuals who were rising up in the midst of conflict, having a stare down with war and coming out with an attitude that said, “I’m not a victim to this situation, but an architect of it” (Quote by: Simon Sinek).
How to Help with Justice Rising in Syria
Justice Rising is asking for people to join them by getting their churches or communities involved in helping to send these students to school in the fall. “For $130 you can send a child to school for the 2017/2018 year or for $1,300 you can send 10 kids to school,” organizers state. “Be a part of responding to the crisis. Join us in bringing education to the next generation of leaders in northern Syria.
“We as the church have the opportunity to respond and invest in the future leaders of this war-torn nation, let us not look back and wish we had done more.”
For more information and to donate go to www.justicerising.org/donate or text “give” to 213-893-4246.