Churches Together in Rye & District had a star speaker at their annual meeting on Wednesday, February 19. Samara Levy, founder and director of Samara’s Aid, spoke at the Baptist Church in Cinque Ports Street, about recent developments in her work to relieve suffering of the civilian population in war-torn Syria.
Described in 2017 by the UN human rights chief as the “worst man-made disaster the world has seen since World War II”, the statistics are horrifying, 500,000 dead and 6.2 million displaced persons. The plight of homeless refugees will be with us a long time into the future.
Samara introduced her talk with film footage of areas she had visited and known, showing the devastation still being caused as the war grinds to its bitter end in Idlib province.
Against this background, her single-minded organisation of relief effort might appear insignificant, but the story amounts to a miracle, wrought by people in this country getting involved.
Starting with a single container lorry loaded with blankets and items of clothing sent originally to Iraq some five years ago, there have now been 110 lorries carrying aid for 500,000 people – some of which has been knitted in Rye.
Over £2,000,000 has been raised to buy ambulances and finance the building of field hospitals to tend the wounded. Now the plan is to build a well-equipped 9,000 square metre hospital on the outskirts of a major city in Syria. With sufficient funding in place for its basic construction, further donations are needed for its fitting out and to support the charity’s field hospital.
Was Samara daunted by the enormity of the task? She responded to this question by saying that it was God’s work, not hers, and she has been guided all the way, taking one step at a time.
It was an uplifting talk, and received with goodwill by the 30 strong audience, brought together by Churches Together in Rye & District. Sales of Samara’s book “Rebuilding the Ruins – God’s call to save Syria” were brisk, with every penny being put to work for the project. The book, price £16.99 (hardback), is available from The Rye Bookshop on the High Street.
Image Credits: Samara Levy , Kenneth Bird .