Baar, 23.02.2015

Two lorries to set off for refugee camps in Middle East

As previously reported,  28-year-old Severiyos Aydin set up the Aramaic Relief International (ARI) organisation in January 2013 to help refugees in the Middle East displaced by the ongoing conflict there. He himself has been on a number of visits to refugee camps in Iraq, Syria and the Lebanon to take them items they need. Now two more lorries are setting off on Monday. This time in addition to they will be taking children's books in addition to blankets and clothes.
 
"There are lots of large families in the refugee camps and the children have nothing to do," said Aydin (photograph). "As a result, some have been involved in fatal accidents while playing on the roads unsupervised. Many have also been badly traumatised by what they have been through, having lost their parents of brothers and sisters."
 
The two 27-tonne lorries will setting off on a two-to-three-week journey for Dohuk and Erbil in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, where some 2 million refugees have fled from Mosul as a result of the city having been taken over by terrorists of the Islamic State (IS) organisation. Many of these displaced people are members of a Christian Yazidi minority group from northern Iraq, a number of whom have already been brutally murdered by IS.
 
ARI also operates in Erbil itself, where some 300,000 refugees are currently housed in a large number of containers and other temporary accommodation. "Our plan is to turn two containers into libraries," said Aydin, who works as a commodity-trader in Baar. He has Aramaic roots himself and belongs to an ancient Christian minority group originating from the area formerly known as Mesopotamia, which now covers parts of Turkey, Syria and Iraq (see map). It was as a result of persecution in the Sixties that Aydin's parents and grandparents were forced to leave their homeland.
 
One cleric in Erbil has already begun to turn a container into a library and now a further tonne of books from Zug is to join them. 800 kilogrammes of these have actually been given by the Halle 44 organisation in Baar, a charity which helps the long-term unemployed.
 
"We hope to set up tables and chairs in the libraries in the long term," said Aydin. "So the children will be able to spend more time there. Some of the books are in English and there are a lot of comics, too. Let us hope these enable the children to be able to forget the conflict which surrounds them for a while."
 
Just as Aydin is busy loading books himself, along comes a 28-year-old local lady with another trailer full and hands them over. "It is a great thing you are doing," she tells him.