Dahlia is 22. She has two kids. This Christmas she is staying in a hotel. But it’s not what you think. This hotel is unfinished – it’s still a building site. And Dahlia is staying there because she’s been driven out of her own home.
Dahlia is from a town called Qaraqosh in Iraq. She was forced to flee in the summer of 2014 when Islamic State (IS) extremists overran their town.
Now she lives in an unfinished hotel in Erbil, along with 160 other families.
“You should celebrate Christmas in your own home,” she says. “It’s not the same to celebrate it here. It’s so cold in this building. The rain comes inside our rooms.
“We thought we would live here for a maximum of two to three months, and that we would then go back to the Nineveh Plain. We can’t believe we have lived here for a year.
“We will have Christmas Day all together and we’ll cook for all the families. Life here is not good, but we have our friendships with one another, and that helps us.”
Salwan is another displaced Christian. He lives with his wife and three children, along with 40 other families from Mosul and the Nineveh plain, in an unfinished apartment block rented for them by a local church. He says: “This Christmas, we will celebrate with all the families in this building and we will have activities together. We haven’t decided yet what we will eat, but we will eat together. We are a family here and we look after each other.
“I feel sorry for Islamic State. They are oppressing us, but they are oppressed. Because they don’t know the truth about Jesus. This is only temporary for us as we have eternal life. I am not attached to earth. Earth is dead to me.
“I don’t want you to pray for me, but I want you to pray for my people. This situation has gone on too long.
“Thank you to the church for your support for us and for praying for us.”
These are just some of the 15,000 families which Open Doors is supporting in Iraq through your generosity.
Every month, Open Doors provides practical support such as medicines and blankets, through local churches and partners. Our partners are also working to provide long-term support to displaced Christians, including trauma care training to help these families begin to heal from the terrible things they have experienced, and micro-loans to enable displaced Christians to begin small businesses.
This is absolutely vital. Haetham, a father of six, says: “There are many families without any salary and they have no money. The food parcels are very important to us. Thank you very much for your help and your prayers.”
Source: Open Doors
You can help now…
Use your voice: Invite your MP to the launch of our annual report on persecution…
Secret Santa: Buy a meaningful gift as a Secret Santa pressie this Christmas…
Six ways to help: Six simple ways to stand with your family in Syria…
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.