By Cara Taylor | Jinishian Memorial Program
“According to many experts, the coming period may not be one of complete peace in Syria,” said Talin Topalakian, “but it may be the end of this brutal conflict, and will likely be marked by reconciliation deals, reconstruction and partial economic recovery.”
Topalakian is a descendant of Armenian genocide survivors during World War I. The resilient faith of her parents and grandparents has helped to build a thriving community in Aleppo over the past century. She has seen much of that community dispersed and destroyed over the past eight years. But along with a dozen of her intrepid staff across the country — all Syrian-Armenians — she directs the work of the Jinishian Memorial Program in Syria. They are driven by a mission to restore lives once again.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Cor. 13:11 (NIV)
How many Armenians are experiencing homelessness or housing instability? It’s hard to determine, but areas that were evacuated during the war are repopulating. About 90% of the community needs help to rebuild their lives. The Jinishian Memorial Program (JMP) in Syria is focused on alleviating the greatest needs of the most vulnerable in Syria’s Armenian communities with humanitarian aid.
In the more stable areas, commerce and festivities have resumed, but many suburbs and cities are still dangerous. Some Armenians who fled the country to take refuge in Armenia and elsewhere are returning to their properties.
“Everybody is looking forward to the rehabilitation, but the cost of restoration is estimated to be very high,” Topalakian explained. “The country is likely to experience prolonged economic stagnation.” The majority of the work at this point is helping meet health needs, but much of it is emotional encouragement and community.
Helping Kids Recover
JMP is always looking for ways to bring kids happiness — including Easter gifts, birthday parties and back-to-school shopping.
Freedom from fear
Hagop and Kevork are among 59 children and mothers who left the violence they witness daily in Damascus for a picnic day-trip in the country to play games and receive trauma counseling.
Health outreach in the wake of war
Extreme inflation of medication costs is among the biggest challenges faced by Syrians, and hundreds more applied for assistance last year.
But prescriptions are only one piece of the puzzle. We offer medical assistance, grace-filled guidance, awareness about wellness, personal follow-up and home visits, professional referrals, and preventive and curative care.
Jinishian’s strong network draws on 53 years of relationships in local communities. Along with other nonprofits and churches, they combine resources to meet the most critical and costly needs.
Encouraging one another. After eight years of war, Talin Topalakian and her team finally enjoyed a time to celebrate and give thanks in their shared Aleppo courtyard and outreach building with longtime partners the Howard Karagheusian Commemorative Corporation and Christ Church. All present asked the Lord for peace in their land and a bright future serving the Armenian community.
Pray for Syria
- For people to return to work and to provide for their families
- For those who need emotional and physical healing. Pray with Nellie, who gives thanks for Jinishian’s help with a difficult surgery and seeks comfort for others like her.
- For the precious gift of life and the journey of suffering for those injured by the war violence in Syria
- For families displaced from their homes because of financial and personal crises
- For freedom from anxiety and protection for the epidemic of men dealing with heart disease
- For children in Syria to grow up with hope
Vartan Jinishian saw the need of his people and realized he could do something about it, entrusting his legacy gift through the PC(USA) in 1966. Today, the Jinishian Memorial Program is on the front lines supporting Armenian communities throughout the Middle East and Armenia. We’re upending the roots of poverty, and building up farms, businesses, health and faith. Our local teams see this impact every day, sharing God’s love and bringing real solutions that impact 100,000 people a year, including the recovering community in Syria.
Consider making a special gift to rebuild lives in Syria today. Give securely online to support the Jinishian Memorial Program.
From poverty and despair to self-sufficiency and hope! For Armenian communities living with poverty who see no way out, your involvement empowers them with a chance at a different life.