|Volume 16, No. 2
Helping Syrian Refugee
Families Find a Fresh Start
When violence erupted in the Syrian neighborhood where Boutros, 37, and his pregnant wife, Haneen, lived with their two young children, the family fled their third floor apartment and hid under the stairway.
Once it calmed down outside, Haneen insisted on going upstairs to grab some food, water and blankets for the children. She was gone before Boutros could object. Minutes later, an explosion destroyed their apartment, killing both Haneen and their unborn child. Boutros scooped up Youssef, 3, and Rafah, 2, and left on the spot without any belongings or documents.
They found their way to Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, where IOCC, an ACT Alliance member, responded to their immediate needs, providing a winterization kit containing blankets and a heating stove for the small tent they now call home. Boutros and his children are among the 600 vulnerable refugee families that have received these kits as part of IOCC's emergency response to the growing refugee population seeking safety in Lebanon. Since 2012, IOCC has assisted more than 425,000 Syrian people displaced in their own country or living as refugees in Jordan and Lebanon with emergency relief items such as food, clothing, blankets, bedding and housing assistance.
Knowing that they have found safety and shelter comforts Boutros somewhat, but the loss of his wife weighs heavy on his heart. "I am so worried about the children. They have seen and heard horrible things," said the former garage owner, his voice cracking. "They ask about their mother and I don't know what to say. I loved my darling wife and now she's gone. These two are all I have now. I live for them."