The mission of Stand With Iraqi Christians (SWIC) is to support, through friendship and material aid, the right of Christians and their communities in Iraq to survive and thrive. In 2014, Father Christopher Bishop of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church (Radnor, PA) became aware of the plight of Iraqi Christians of all denominations and launched a grass roots effort to support Iraqi Christians. His early insights are documented in the video “Where is Our Place?” available free on the SWIC Web site swic2.revrevwine.com. This mission of St. Martin’s eventually grew into the non-profit Stand With Iraqi Christians, now a group under the IRS designation of The Episcopal Church.
According to Archdeacon Bill Schwartz (Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf) Christian communities in Iraq and Syria have been worst-hit by 21st century turmoil. Since 2011, millions of Christians fled their homes, fearing genocide at the hands of Islamic extremists. Throughout Iraq they regularly face discrimination for practicing their faith. Even with the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) pushed back militarily, there are thousands of Christians facing persecution as they try to rebuild their lives. SWIC is committed to walking with our fellow Christians as they move forward.
Education, small business redevelopment after warfare destroyed facilities, and water wells are only a few of the ways we collaborate with Christian organizations. These projects help not only Christians but improve the quality of life for their Muslim neighbors, too.
DESCRIPTION OF THE WORK
St. George’s Church in Baghdad runs the School of the Redeemer — a Christian nursery school and kindergarten. Students at this school come from all segments of society:
- Muslims, both Shi’i and Sunni,
- Yezidis and other faiths, as well as
- boys and girls.
This ministry is truly inclusive. For the past two years, parents have driven a call for expansion because parents of all faiths highly value the education their children receive. The school is properly registered with the Iraqi Ministry of Education and highly rated. In 2017 a building permit was obtained and construction began to expand the school to a new building that would serve children through 6th grade.
Tragically, the construction was stalled because of funding restrictions between Middle East countries. At the same time the Iraq government continues to look for signs of progress and if the construction does not continue the school is in danger of not being operational by October 2018. In addition to construction expenses, the school will need furnishings, technology and supplies in order to be ready to educate children next fall.
STATEMENT OF NEED
To date, over $250,000 has been raised by St. George’s. In spring 2017 SWIC raised $50,000 more to complete the first floor. But St. George’s still needs over $100,000 to finish the building!
Donations to SWIC will have an immediate positive impact. All donations to SWIC are tax deductible and donations can be made on our donations page.
Funds will be used for:
- Construction materials such as walls, ceiling, flooring, windows, and doors
- Plumbing and electrical work
- Air conditioning units (due extreme temperature fluctuations in Baghdad)
- Desks and chairs
- Desktop computers and tablets
- Other furnishings and resources for community areas