IMPRESSIONS FROM THE FIELD
Harbi and his wife Selah have 11-year-old twins— a boy and a girl. Until 2011, the family lived a normal life in a neighborhood located on the outskirts of ancient Homs in Syria. Harbi worked as a plumber, which provided him and his family with a decent livelihood and home before the Syrian war began. The couple’s neighborhood was one of the first areas in Homs where hostilities began. The fighting forced their family and others to flee their homes to places such as the countryside. Harbi has diabetes, which left him unable to walk and the disability has increased the burden on him and his family as access to medical treatment and food became more difficult. Where they relocated, costs have increased while services such as electricity and water have dwindled, putting the family in hardship. Even when the local conflicts have subsided, and the neighbourhood is safe again, the family cannot move back home because they have no money to fix their home that was ravaged by war. But with the help of local partners and CBM donors, Harbi, Selah and the twins have hope through the Syrian Reconstruction Initiative.
Selah expressed gratitude to the local church and to the project team, "I'm desperate to go back to my house and my neighbourhood, but I see all the doors are blocked. Can you really revive our hope?" she asked. The initiative helped to remove rubble, install a new door and window frames, kitchen reparations, plumbing, and rebuilding, and scraping and plastering burnt and damaged walls. Selah, accompanied by her two children, regularly visited and inspected their home while the rehabilitation work was ongoing. "I do not know what we would do without your help!”, Selah exclaimed. Look at some of the families that preceded us and have come back; how beautiful and encouraging it was for us and others!" she shared. The church holds a special place in the hearts of Rabi, Selah, and their children, who also benefit from food assistance and other programs. Selah stated, “We need to return (home) not only to get rid of the burdens of life but also to return to a normal social situation within the neighbourhood and the neighbours with whom we have lived all our lives. I sincerely hope that you will help all the residents of the neighbourhood so that they will return. That alone will bring our lives back on track.”