Dear Father Chris and Stand With Iraqi Christians,
Greetings from Erbil! For those who don’t know me yet, my name is Hanna Kaka Rash. I was born and raised in Baghdad, but came to Erbil in March 2015, when social breakdown and violence against Christians became too dangerous, and I feared for the safety of my family. I am currently the projects manager for Christian & Mission Alliance Church (CMA) in Erbil.
It was a great pleasure to meet Father Chris last September, and thank you to Stand With Iraqi Christians for your generous support and gifts of friendship. Through your financial contributions, and Father Chris’s presence, you helped to purchase and distribute food packages for 80 Internationally Displaced (IDP) families outside of Erbil in Banasor (it was great to see this in your film!)
Father Chris, it was especially good to see you on your return visit in April, and I send you warm greetings from the whole Christian community in Ankawa (the Christian section of Erbil). We are really excited to continue working with you and SWIC, and with your global Episcopal and Anglican church community to help Christian refugees living a hard life in Ankawa, Erbil, and even in Baghdad.
When you were here in April you met Malik, a Christian from Baghdad. You came with us to the hardware store where we bought him $800 worth of tools to set up his own shop. He is doing great, has a business, and is already helping another machinist do the same. I am so happy this is a model SWIC wants to develop with us.
Together we can help a lot of skilled Christians create a life here by assisting to start small businesses. So many want to make start-ups, like bakery shop, mechanical shop, sewing shop, aluminum shop, purchase a motorcycle for a delivery business, mobile phone accessories shop, etc. Most of the Christians are sitting in refugee camps or caravans just waiting for something to do to be productive. We can really help them!
Also, beyond my work as CMA Project Manager, I organize many projects for Christians facing difficult life in Erbil and local areas. I know of families living in tents in terrible poverty and uncertainty, and people who have nowhere to live at all. And I thank you all for your interest in not just giving money, but for coming to actually meet and befriend people who have no friends and nowhere to go.
There are so many things we can do together, and I thank God for your friendship with us. I know you are coming back in this October, so I will look forward to seeing you then. To all of you, our friends, thank you for standing with us Christians in Iraq!
In Jesus’ name,