During the past few months we have heard from politicians, Church leaders, and many others regarding the Syrian Refugee Crisis in the Balkans and Western Europe. Unfortunately much of the discussion has been based upon murky facts or fiction and in some cases outright fear. Are the Syrian refugees people fleeing a civil war and ISIS to protect themselves and their families, are they people looking to sneak into western society for economic gain or are they terrorists?
Some things are certain. There are people fleeing Syria, Afghanistan, Etruria and other countries. These people are landing in Greece and making their way through the Balkans to Europe. During this journey they are encountering significant hardships and are in need of the basic necessities of life – food, shelter, clothing and medical attention. Much of the aid is being provided by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s). One important NGO is Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official international aid agency of the American Catholic Church.
Next week I will depart with a CRS delegation to Greece and Serbia observe what is actually happening in those countries and to see the programs and work being done to aid the refugees. I will be reporting back on this blog my findings, observations and thoughts during that journey. I hope you will follow me on this journey, a journey that is certainly easier than theirs.