Tag: Humanitarian Crisis

Community Relief Work Eases Hostility: Cesar’s Story

For more than 20 years, Convoy of Hope partner Cesar Gil has worked in Melilla, Spain. As one of only two land borders that the European Union shares with Africa, it represents a doorway for refugees looking for a better tomorrow.

Through relief distributions, Convoy of Hope partners with Cesar to provide help to refugees and migrants in need. But for more than a decade, Cesar and his team have endured shouts and slurs, thrown rocks, bombings, and vandalism at their church.

“Since day one, they started to throw rocks while we were inside the tent … every time, every day,” Cesar said.

Although many communities in Melilla and neighboring Morocco were grateful for the help, Cesar and his team couldn’t serve other immediate locations due to the threats and hostility leveled against them.

As the pandemic unfolded, people could no longer travel to neighboring communities. Unaccompanied minors and runaways had to create makeshift quarters in street sewers, tunnels, and caves. Unemployment levels and lack of food transcended the differences that previously existed between refugees and those who despised them.

“The pandemic came and nobody had jobs, nobody had really any work,” said Cesar. “Inside the houses, they live with four families. Imagine the pressure — four families in one house using one bathroom.”

These new regulations and travel restrictions made it difficult for Cesar’s team to continue their work the way they once did. Instead, they pivoted to serve people in more immediate communities who were struggling. Using the surplus of food parcels they had because of the new restrictions, they reentered aggressive communities in hopes that people would be more receptive in their time of need.

These gestures of kindness and consideration broke down the walls of hostility and paved a way for the conversations Cesar had been longing to have with this community.

“We just kept showing them love,” Cesar said. “We realized that the only thing we could do was love them.”

One border closing led to another being opened. Now, instead of hurled rocks and bombs, these neighbors greet each other with hand waves and blow kisses.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Disaster Services

Hope Persists Despite Displacement

“We didn’t take anything from home,” Mrs. Ouedrago* recounted. “We left our village because of the terrorist attacks.”

The Ouedrago family fled their village at night to escape the violence erupting around them. Extremists had come into their town and killed indiscriminately. Young boys who resisted them were killed. After the local school was burned, the Ouedrago children were forced to abandon their education.

In the process of fleeing, the family left their belongings and livestock behind. They quietly snuck out of their village and walked all night in fear. They traveled 46 miles on foot to a location in the Centre-Nord Region, where other displaced families had gathered.

Once Mr. Ouedrago knew his wife and children were safe, he left to find work in another city. The rest of the family live in a makeshift camp with other families. Here, Convoy of Hope provides them with essential food and hygiene supplies.

“The problems we have encountered are many,” said Mrs. Ouedrago. “We survive thanks to the donations of people of good will.”

The attacks in Burkina Faso have displaced more than one million people. Individuals who now reside in camps for displaced families often struggle to find employment, education, health services, and food security.

For people like Mrs. Ouedrago and her family, hope comes in the form of food parcels, hygiene items, and other essentials. Together, Convoy of Hope has provided more than 260,000 meals to people in need there. Thank you for joining us in our mission.

*Names have been changed for the safety of those involved.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Disaster Services