"May God bless you"

Erbil,Iraq 05.08.2015

Just before the anniversary of the flight of tens of thousands of Christians Iraqi bishops thank Aid to the Church in Need for building schools

Erbil/Königstein – 5 August 2015. Iraqi bishops have thanked the Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need for setting up schools for refugee children. Just before the anniversary of the flight of more than 120,000 Christians on 6 August the Catholic Bishops from northern Iraq approached Aid to the Church in Need. In two Chaldean dioceses and a Syriac-Catholic diocese provisional schools were erected from prefabricated components for children and young people who were forced to flee from the terrorist group "Islamic State" together with their parents last year. "We would like to thank you for your kind support for our community during this difficult time, when thousands of Christian families were forced to leave their homes and properties due to the ISIS attack last June to August 2014," said Archbishop Basher Matte Ward of Erbil. "We are especially grateful for your help for our students in building 5 schools for themin our Archdiocese, the Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil, which were completed in the cityof Ankawa on land owned by our archdioceses." Two of the five schools are consequently being used for about 1100 students aged 18 to 25 who were forced to flee, including not only Christians, but also Muslims and Yazidi. The Chaldean Bishop of Zakho and Ammadeya, Rabban Al Qas, also thanked Aid to the Church in Need. "The Chaldean diocese of Zakho and Ammadeya will take full responsibility for the administration of 2 schools dedicated to internally displaced persons. Thank you so much for your kind help and caring love. We assure you of our prayers for our benefactors and ask for your prayers.May God bless you all with His care and love."Another school is being run under the auspices of the Syriac-Catholic Archdiocese of Mosul, Kirkuk and Kurdistan. Archbishop Youhanna Botros Moshi recently wrote to Aid to the Church in Need, "We are especially grateful for your help in supporting our pupils by building a school in the city of Dohuk," the Syriac-Catholic Archbishop said.By building the schools from prefabricated parts Aid to the Church in Need wanted to help prevent the pupils concerned from having to go without schooling for the as yet unforeseeable duration of their exile. In all, about 7200 mainly Christian children are to be taught in what are now eight schools. They will be taught by teachers from the Christian towns currently occupied by ISIS. The central government in Baghdad will pay for the upkeep of the teaching staff. The classrooms are to be used not only for schooling, but also for catechetical instruction and other church activities.

 

For the persecuted Christians in Iraq Aid to the Church in Need has provided a total of more than 8 million euro in aid since August 2014. Alongside the erection of the school buildings, this includes the purchase of caravans and the provision of food.

Oliver Maksan.