Peacemaker Fridays: May 13, 2016

Syrian refugees come to the aid of Canadians displaced by the Fort McMurray wildfire; youth in Singapore reach out to migrant workers; and Christians and Muslims in Lebanon show how to live together in peace.

Here are the week's best stories of people reaching across enemy lines, loving the other, and waging peace...

Syrian refugees in Canada pay it forward
As Rita Khanchet watched more than 80,000 Canadians flee the fire that destroyed their homes, she knew she had to do something. "We understand what they’re feeling," said Khanchet, a Syrian refugee who has found a new home in Calgary. "When you lose everything, you have to start from zero... It’s not easy." So Khanchet rallied members of her Syrian refugee Facebook group, requesting that everyone give  $5 for the evacuees. "[Canadians] gave us everything," she wrote. "And now it’s time to return the favor." The response from the Syrian community, many of whom have been in Canada only a short time, has been amazing. Read more... 

Youth reach out to Singapore's "invisible"
Last weekend, a group of Singaporean youth and 70 migrant workers gathered at the first Bumbong Sunset, a time to eat, drink, have fun, and break down social barriers. The gathering was the first of many in a series sponsored by Amber, an organization that engages youth in the community. A huge number of Singapore's foreign domestic workers come from conflict-ridden countries like Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Many are victims of abuse, forced labor and human trafficking—and are not readily welcomed into Singapore's society. For many workers who attended the Bumbong Sunset, it was the first time they had been in a Singaporean's house as a guest. It is part of a broader project called The Invisible Visible, a book that will share the inspiring stories of 30 migrant workers, many of whom are victims of forced labor and human trafficking. Through their interactions, they hope to "humanize every individual... and offer a transcendence beyond the labels." Read more... 


Lebanon's Christian and Muslim Communities Are Proof That Peace Is Possible
The small country of Lebanon has no shortage of challenges: tense political rivalries, a refugee crisis straining its resources, and more. But Lebanon also provides hopeful examples of how Christians and Muslims can live together in peace. Over the years, the country has given refuge to Christian, Muslim, and Jewish minority groups. At the Jesuit-run St. Joseph's University, Muslim and Christian students study side-by-side. It's no wonder that when visiting nearly 20 years ago, Pope John Paul II said, "Lebanon is more than a country; it is a message." Read more... 

Do you have a story to share? We would love to hear how you and your community are waging peace right where you are. And stay tuned for more hope-filled peacemaker stories next Friday!

About Kristin Giuliani

Storyteller and program developer at PLC; wife to a would-be farmer; mom to three crazy girls, including one with a mended heart; lover of quiet, camping, and the Great Reconciler.

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Peacemaker Fridays: May 13, 2016
Peacemaker Fridays: May 13, 2016
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