To honor World Refugee Day on June 20, Kristy Graham is taking you on the ground to the desert of northern Iraq where the Grace Community Center is located. In 2014, Yazidi families fled from ISIS—abandoning their homes in Sinjar to find dwelling in Khanke Camp. The camp, originally a short term solution, is now home to more than 30,000 internally displaced persons living in tents and desperate for hope.
Kristy is joined by Caleb Drown, who serves as Samaritan’s Purse regional director of the Middle East. Once living a couple miles from the Grace Community Center, he was submersed in the day-to-day activities of the Center. He discusses the cultures of hospitality in the surrounding area called Dohuk, and breaks down the history of oppression from ISIS to the Yazidi people. The Grace Community Center is family-oriented, and it provides a space for these displaced people to learn new skills, provide for their families, and ultimately find hope.
Listen as Geza Gergely, who manages the Grace Community Center, explains the difficulty that Yazidis have endured. They fled unimaginable persecution from ISIS and left everything behind. Their entire town was destroyed. Returning would mean rebuilding their homes, installing new infrastructure, and facing the fear and trauma of another attack.
The Grace Community Center serves as a holistic outreach for those displaced by ISIS. Geza describes the Center’s various programs available for the entire family—ranging from literacy and language to sewing and carpentry. This all-inclusive complex gives families the opportunity to repair the foundation of these hurting communities.
“One of the things I really love and respect about Samaritan’s Purse is how programs are tailored to the people we are helping—it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.” – Kristy Graham
Caleb explains that Yazidis closely identify with the story of the Good Samaritan. He offers prayer requests for the Yazidi culture—that they would experience the hope that only Jesus can give. Please continue to pray for the Grace Community Center and all that are affected by displacement this World Refugee Day.
“This, in general, reflects our approach to all of our programming in Iraq for Samaritan’s Purse. We want to build relationships, we want to have connection with people and so as we have that connection, we can show them the love of Christ. That’s what we’re there for.” – Caleb Drown
An Inside Look
Take a look at the Samaritan’s Purse photoblog highlighting the work of the Grace Community Center: “A Chance to Dream Again.”