For our students on the DTS, its so important for them to not just hear in the classroom about the injustices going on in the world and hear of the numbers and statistics but actually meet the people behind the numbers, put into practice what they’ve learnt and understand more of what their part to play in bringing the love and hope of God to these people and situations.
So for 7 weeks of the school they go off to help and support organisations around the world who are working within these areas of injustice.
With the Refugee Crisis that is going on currently in the Mediterranean, it was really amazing to have a door opened up for our team to go and partner with a refugee organisation in Sicily. As Christians and particularly as a justice school its so important for us to be able to respond to imminent and real needs meeting us. And at the moment the Christians and organisations working with refugees coming into the receiving ports in Sicily are completely overwhelmed with the vastness of this crisis, 1000s upon 1000s of refugees flooding in, needing help, support, friends, food, homes etc. So for our team to go and support at this time was so valuable. We are grateful for the opportunity God opened up.
Due to Alyssa’s arrival we weren’t able to go on this outreach but we were able to prepare and support the team of 2 staff and 5 students that went for a total of 7 weeks to partner with a charity in Sicily. This charity is one of the Welcome Centres receiving refugees upon arrival into the country.
The team were able to be such needed friends for the young people, mainly north Africans, who recently arrived on the beaches there. Many of them having gone through incredibly difficult and traumatic situations leaving their home countries and travelling there, through multiple countries over months. They reached out to them by playing sport with them, games, learning Italian together, sharing food, taking time to listen to them, showing them they cared and had time for them, and praying for them, and sharing God’s love for them.
For the refugees arriving in Sicily, being welcomed, received and reached out to with friendship was such an incredible way to start their time there in a new and unknown nation and culture. And as always as much as the teams go to help, encourage and bless, they discover its a time of learning, receiving and being blessed by the people there that they meet too.
Although not all of us are called to go to Sicily on a long term basis, and we only had 7 weeks to be there as a school, one thing we can all do is pray for the people there.
The statistics can be overwhelming –
– Approximately half of the refugees are children. A very high percentage of these people are unaccompanied minors: 90% of the migrant children who have recently arrived in Europe via Italy were unaccompanied minors. Over 7,000 unaccompanied minors crossed from North Africa into Italy in the first 5 months of 2016.
– More than one million refugees crossed the Mediterranean Sea last year.
– In 2015 there was a record 5,400 deaths of migrants attempting to cross borders
– Tens of thousands of people are in limbo living in squalid camps in border towns.
But God knows and loves each person individually and our prayers make a difference.