Presvytera Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. She is the owner, designer and photographer of V’s Cardbox, In Service and Love. a greeting card company featuring cards with an Orthodox voice. She strongly feels that experiencing the Orthodox Faith through the church’s cyclical calendar of feasts and fasts is a gift that is too often overlooked.
Have you heard of HUMANS of NEW YORK? It’s a website Brandon Stanton started when he found himself “between jobs.” With a camera in hand, he set out to interview the people in New York City. He finds fascinating people, takes their portrait, and gets a quote. Brandon has a way of getting to the core of a person; even Barbara Walters would envy him. He has an amazing, natural gift.
Stanton is currently in Greece photographing and interviewing refugees and residents. Their stories are heartbreaking, terrifying and a few are encouraging.
Here’s one story:
“My father was a farmer and we had eight siblings. I went to Australia when I was fifteen because my family didn’t have enough to eat. I was on a boat for forty days. When I got there, I couldn’t find a job, I couldn’t speak English, and I had to sleep on the street. I know what it’s like. So everyday I drive the van to the port and hand out bread to the refugees. My son is my business partner. He says, ‘Baba, please. It’s fine to help. But not every day.’ But I still go every day because I know what it feels like to have nothing.” (Kos, Greece)
“My husband and I sold everything we had to afford the journey. We worked 15 hours a day in Turkey until we had enough money to leave. The smuggler put 152 of us on a boat. Once we saw the boat, many of us wanted to go back, but he told us that anyone who turned back would not get a refund. We had no choice. Both the lower compartment and the deck were filled with people. Waves began to come into the boat so the captain told everyone to throw their baggage into the sea. In the ocean we hit a rock, but the captain told us not to worry. Water began to come into the boat, but again he told us not to worry. We were in the lower compartment and it began to fill with water. It was too tight to move. Everyone began to scream. We were the last ones to get out alive. My husband pulled me out of the window. In the ocean, he took off his life jacket and gave it to a woman. We swam for as long as possible. After several hours he told me he that he was too tired to swim and that he was going to float on his back and rest. It was so dark we could not see. The waves were high. I could hear him calling me but he got further and further away. Eventually a boat found me. They never found my husband.” (Kos, Greece)
I encourage you to see for yourself. Go to: HUMANS of NEW YORK.
HOW YOU CAN HELP IN DEFENSE OF REFUGEES
We invite you to share with the Orthodox Christian Network substantive philanthropies that are coming to the aid of all that are persecuted. Notable is the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) whom “in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond”. The IOCC has undertaken significant initiatives to help save Syria’s children whom are displaced or living as refugees. Notably 92% of every dollar donated to the IOCC “directly helps those affecting dire situations”.
“You can help the victims of poverty and conflicts around the world by making a financial gift to the IOCC International Emergency Response Fund which will provide immediate relief, as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need. To make a gift, please visit iocc.org or call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC FREE (4622), or mail a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, MD 21297.
An additional notable philanthropy is “The Barnabas Fund’s Operation Safe Havens program which has pressed governments to issue visas to persecuted Christians, on condition that the organization will foot their expenses”. Operation Safe Havens was featured in an August 20, 2015, editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Robert R. Reilly, director of the Westminster Institute in McLean, Va.
The Orthodox Christian Network invites you to support our coverage of Christian Persecution and Religious Freedom by giving to our 10 Cents A Day campaign, where 100% of your gift goes to ministry and 0% to overhead.
Your input is welcomed and appreciated; and you have our resound commitment to be a resource of compassion, a voice of help, and active participant to helping all in need.
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