Jinishian progam offers path out of homelessness
By Cara Taylor | Jinishian Memorial Program
BEIRUT, Lebanon – Rose saw her whole world and her music stop when her family experienced homelessness. She and her mother were living in cramped quarters with relatives. They urged her mother to divorce her father, who had kept the money problems secret. Without his job, they lost their home and could not afford rent. Rose’s treasured dream—playing her piano—seemed impossible.
Lebanon has reeled with up to 1.5 million Syrian refugees (over a quarter of the Lebanese population) since the Syrian crisis began. Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese citizens like Rose fell into poverty or unemployment in 2016. Unable to make ends meet, they suffered a range of health and social problems.
The Jinishian Memorial Program (JMP) began in Beirut in 1966 to meet the needs of the post-genocide Armenian population. With the belief that each of God’s children has potential and dignity, the mission team gives families like Rose’s tools to find jobs, improve their relationships and stay together. JMP programs prevent school drop outs and child labor by supporting vocational education, particularly for women. Social workers address threats of domestic violence, human trafficking, drug addiction, legal and health issues. As a Christian outreach, local mission staff also offer hope and give comfort. They encourage trust in God and perseverance when adversity strikes.
A Jinishian social worker invited Rose to join their program for teenage girls. There she found a safe place to overcome her many struggles and fears. Hope stirred. Rose persevered in vocational school, received her diploma and is now preparing for university. Jinishian counselors helped her mother seek ways to restore her marriage, start work and find an apartment. Through our relationship with The Nawaya Network, she even resumed her piano lessons. She looks to the future, and her song is full of gratitude and possibility.