Thursday, December 22, 2016

Children for Children 2016

Ok so it's late, but I'm just getting around to writing about the Children for Children concert from last night, because my heart is full of gratitude.

Today for #LIGHTtheWORLD the prompt is "Jesus Showed Gratitude and So Can You" (video over HERE)

And I don't feel I can let this day go by without expressing some serious gratitude for all the help to reach our goal.  (Yes, we made it!)

After a bunch of deliberation on where we could best put our efforts this year, and a lot of prep work (back HERE), those kids put on a great show, and all the parents were so supportive.

Our Children for Children partners (our neighbors) took a turn hosting this year.

And I forgot my big camera.  

And I also forgot to take many pictures even on my phone.  

But at least I got our opening act:
(Those fabulous girls did a pretty great little dance routine.)

We had dancing, piano, singing, and even a balance beam act.
It was so great to get to slow down and visit with all those great people following the concert...

...and it was pretty great to find out that we reached our goal.
Claire was the "chairman" this year and that girl of ours sure put in a LOT of work.

She emailed, texted, made numerous phone calls listened in on all the stories, and conducted that night.
Those other great kids shared some stories about the refugees we were helping intermingled amidst the talents.

And since so many wonderfully generous blog readers contributed as well, I wanted to share a few stories here on the blog.

I had the opportunity to be in a conference call with Lisa, the camp manager a few weeks ago and this swelling of love came over me for these people.  They are educated.  They are good.  They want to work.  Many have had to separate from their families in order to survive.  Many have suffered horrible atrocities at the hands of the Taliban.

And ALL of them need HOPE.

There is so much corruption in the government in Greece right now, and because of the March 20th agreement these people are in limbo.  But they are there because they were in danger in their own homeland.  Many have braved the unimaginable to get there.

Here are a couple of their stories (taken from Liz's blog post....thank you Liz!):

Rishda owned a successful beauty salon in Afghanistan.  Many of her clients were brides preparing for their weddings. But the Taliban told her that makeup and hairstyling is not allowed as it leads women to do bad things and ordered her to close her store.  They bombed her house and the bomb exploded near her 7-month old baby, who later died from shrapnel wounds.  She still has shrapnel in her leg as a result.  Her husband was a Colonel in the military and worked with foreigners in that capacity. As a result, the Taliban threatened to kill him because he was working with so many non-muslims, so he must not be a committed muslim. So he left with the smugglers before she did, leaving many promises behind.  This meant that if she was going to escape, she would have to travel thousands of miles alone with 6 young children – ages 1-10.



So that's just what she did -- and it took her 7 months.  

She walked 12 hours over the border from Pakistan to Iran, then 16 hours though the mountains.  When you walk with smugglers through the mountains, they have no mercy.  You have to run, because if you don't keep up with them, they will leave you behind.  

When they crossed the border from Pakistan to Iran to get to Turkey, police fired upon the line of refugees, killing many people.  She threw herself over her children so they weren't harmed.

Between borders, she was told to stay and wait for the next smuggler to take her to the next border and she waited for 10 days with no food, little water, waiting for the next smugglers to take her to the next border.  She slept under a car with her children.

When they crossed the border into Turkey, the police caught her and kept her with her children in jail for four days.  In order to release her they asked her to pay $2,000 per person for four people (they apparently don't charge for babies).  She paid it.

Story number 2:  

Angaeza said that her father was a doctor and her mother was also a professional, so they always told her that she should follow her dreams.  So she did, working for UNAID and many other agencies translating and helping to create public policy.  She worked with many Americans, which is why her English is so good. She traveled to many countries with these agencies often focused on women’s rights, working tirelessly to help her country-women and men with great hope that she could make it a better place.

Then one day, she woke up and there was a letter posted to her door.  It was from the Taliban and it they said that women cannot work and that she had to quit her job and leave the university where she was studying or they would kill her.  She went to the ministry and showed them the letter.  They said that these problems were everywhere and there was nothing they could do until the Taliban attacked her.  She said, “Thank you very much for giving this protection to my dead body”.  This is a theme I heard throughout.  It seems that the Taliban gives you three warnings that come in the form of a note on your door.  She showed me a picture of this note with the Taliban stamp.  If you do not comply by the third warning, they will kill you.  When Angaeza saw this, she knew that she would never be able to realize her dream of helping her country.  But instead, she would have to dream of having a child that could be educated in a free place, one that she could teach about the importance of human rights, who could someday go back to her country to help. 

There are countless stories like these two.

And when you hear them you think...no, you know, that helping provide shelter is not enough.  And of course it's not.  There is so much more.  But we hope that helping with a little part of this shelter will give them at least a part of that HOPE they need to hold onto as they live this portion of their lives in this camp.  They are in good hands with this awesome camp director and we will be in touch trying to figure out future needs.  

But for now, THANK YOU for reaching out to help.

Thank you from Claire the "children for children chairman" this year as well as all the other kids who were so excited as the fundraising numbers went up.  But most of all from all those kids who will sleep a little warmer and sounder, with a little more hope for the future spreading through their hearts.

2 comments:

  1. In this age where more and more people are looking inwards, it's so hopeful that there are people looking beyond themselves, their own community, to see how they can make the world better. Great job, Pothiers!

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  2. Loved seeing those great kids dedicated to helping others. Lots of work for everyone. Congrats on a terrific event that will help so many in need! "Except for the grace of God, there go we!"

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