In 2018, Rita and Rana started to once again regain hope after four years in captivity. Fighters from the Islamic State (ISIS) had kidnapped and enslaved them back in 2014 just because of their Christian faith. Both women suffered immensely during captivity and despite that they were captured separately, both received similar abuses, forced conversion to Islam, and enslavement. However, as ISIS began its retreat across Iraq, the terrorists’ grip on prisoners they once enslaved began to loosen up.
“I thought the darkness would never end, but then there was a light and I dreamed the nightmare would end,” Rita says.
The Nazarene Fund rescued Rita and Rana and reunited them with their families. They entered our Women at Risk program and began the process of healing and recovery. Today both are safe and healthy as their journey towards recovery continues.
No longer victims, Rita and Rana see themselves today as survivors and have joined the effort to assist other refuges. Last week they joined The Nazarene Fund team in Amman, Jordan to deliver aid to Christian refugees from Syria who are still unable to return home due to the ongoing war and the threat of religious persecution. They helped deliver food, medicine, and cleaning supplies to 2,400 impoverished refugees struggling for survival and who have been abandoned by most aid groups. Refugees are especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic due to the lack of personal protection equipment, cleaning supplies, healthcare, and proper nutrition.
Rita and Rana distributed food packages while listening to and sharing their story with refugees, many of whom had been displaced for almost six years. The Nazarene Fund temporarily relocated both women to Jordan, as they await the final approval to immigrate to Australia where they will start new lives with their families. However, as COVID-19 continues to delay the immigration process, Rita and Rana continue to help other refugees.
“We are so grateful for the support we received from The Nazarene Fund,” Rita says, “now we want to help too.”
The Nazarene Fund is also grateful for Rana and Rita, and would like to thank them for the strength they have shown, their dedication and their support.
The Nazarene Fund remains focused on the plight of women who are facing the horrors of war, abuse, and captivity. We hope to bring attention to these Women At Risk and to offer them all possible assistance and aid. #womenatrisk.