From Catholic News Service, CRS’ board chair, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tuscon, describes what he saw on his recent trip to the Turkish-Syrian border, where CRS is assisting Syrian refugees who have fled their country’s ongoing violence:
ISTANBUL (CNS) — The relief efforts of U.S. Catholics are helping Syrian refugees in Turkey face their ordeal in a dignified manner that respects their priorities, said Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz.
Bishop Kicanas, chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services, traveled to the Turkish-Syrian border to see programs the agency has implemented as part of its Syria emergency response program. He spent Jan. 3 in Kilis province, which serves as a major entry point for Syrians fleeing conflict at home and houses humanitarian aid camps run by the Turkish government.
The bishop told Catholic News Service Jan. 4 that he had spoken to a man who had just received a cash transfer of $150, through a local post office. Providing cash grants is one of the CRS programs designed to help the recipients buy products of their choice for winterization, including children’s clothing, blankets, heating materials, carpets and rent.
“The man, named Mohammed, said it was very organized and … he felt that they were respecting the dignity of the people to prioritize their needs,” said Bishop Kicanas.
The “man said that he’d never felt so respected,” the bishop said.