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News / Thoughts

Iraq: Rebuilding hope

May 30, 2017

Nashwan is a highly skilled stone-cutter who lives in a village about 25 miles from Mosul, Iraq. He used to work in Mosul itself – but when the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) invaded the city in 2014, he and many others from his village lost their jobs.

He says, “I had worked for 20 years in stone-cutting, and suddenly I was unemployed. I had no means of caring for my wife and three children; they are depending on my income. We worried about our future in this country, especially as we saw so many other families migrate.”

He is cutting the stones that are being used to build the cities of Iraq.

Seeing local people like Nashwan struggling to survive without a source of income, the Mar Matti monastery decided to open a new stone factory. Open Doors supported the project with a grant to purchase the equipment needed to get the factory up and running. The factory employs 50 full-time staff, including Nashwan; he is cutting the stones that are being used to build the cities of Iraq.

“Without this project I would still be unemployed at home. But now it is better. I can take care of my family again. We hope for better times,” Nashwan says. “We thank your organisation and the church for supporting us.”

Yosef, who oversees the factory on behalf of the monastery, says, “Most organisations just distribute food and give people some money. They eat it, they spend it and it’s gone. This project offers long-term hope since it guarantees people’s salary for the future.

“All these workers are now able to support their families. We hope this will give them a reason to stay in this country.”

Three ways you can help

1. Pray. Use the points below, and order our free prayer resources…
2. Give. Give online now to help people like Nashwan in Iraq and Syria rebuild their lives. You can also order our free ‘Walk, bake, ride, run… With Them’ fundraising pack to help you raise money too!
3. Speak up. Sign the One Million Voices of Hope petition and call for a future of safety and dignity for Christians in the Middle East.

Pray now…

  • That God will continue to use the stone factory and other similar projects to bring hope to the Middle East
  • For provision for more projects like this that can help provide long-term help for Iraqi people
  • For God to change the hearts of members of IS and turn them to Himself.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.