War tears lives apart - Love can help piece them back together
For a growing number of people across the world, the horror of war is a part of daily life. Right now the numbers of people driven from their homes by war is on the rise. It stands at 42 million people – an appalling statistic and a stain on the conscience of humanity.
Christian Aid and its partners work to help communities rebuild their lives including those in areas of war. An example of this is in Columbia where Edile, aged nine, lives in the Las Camelias humanitarian zone with his family.
Photo credit Christian Aid/Matt Gonzalez-Noda
Edile’s family, like so many others, arrived in the humanitarian zone after fleeing the horrors of war. Many in his community have lost close relatives and friends to the conflict. All have lost their homes and possessions. Around five million people in Colombia have had to leave their homes and Afro-Colombians like Edile are among those most affected by the violence.
Christian Aid partner, The Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace (CIJP), has played a crucial role in setting up humanitarian zones in Colombia. Humanitarian zones are demarcated areas offering a safe refuge to people living in areas of conflict. Anyone bearing arms is denied entry to Las Camelias.
When Edile was little, before he moved to Las Camelias, his father was killed. In a school set up by CIJP, the teachers keep a close eye on the psychological wellbeing of Edile and his friends. People feel safe at Las Camelias. It is a space for them to be listened to and heal their emotional scars.
CIJP provides psychological support to victims of armed conflict, legal support so that victims can get justice, and workshops to educate people about their rights. Edile’s fears haven’t gone away yet, but he now feels – and is – much safer. He says: ‘I am happy here. It is fun, we play ball, I have many friends.’ For the time being Edile and his family are safe, but they are still waiting to return to their land.
In the May edition of Jigsaw we will tell the story of Anoon Aleu who fled her home in the south of Sudan when militias set fire to her house, killing most of her family.
In 2013 the people of Thrapston once again gave generously in Christian Aid week raising a magnificent £2021. This helped The Christian Aid Week national total reach £12m and fund projects such as the one which helped Edile. For further information or to help this Christian Aid week (11–17 May 2014) please contact local organiser Frank Jenkins . 01933 460691 or see christianaid.org.uk