Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization – October 2015

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Iraq: After 1 year of development, ACERO’s largest single aid and relief project, Sawra Village in Northern Iraq has come to fruition and is ready to initially welcome 52 families. The Village was officially opened on 16 October 2015 in the historic Assyrian village of Semele. In the presence of 150 dignitaries and potential tenants, the Village was officially opened by the Vice Governor of Dohuk, government representatives, clergy of the Assyrian Church of the East along with donors.

The opening programme included a tour of the village where attendees were shown the housing structures, the kitchen facilities, the dining area and ablution units.

The gathering was addressed by Mr Odisho Dawood (Chairman of ACERO’s Dohuk Chapter), Mr Andy Darmoo (ACERO Secretary), the Vice Governor of Dohuk and Cor-Bishop Pilipos Philip of the Assyrian Church of the East. Mr Andy Darmoo noted: “this is a project we are extremely proud of for ACERO. We look forward to welcoming the families to the village where they will live happily and securely until they can return to their homes with God’s help. We thank Rev’d Dr Patrick Sookhdeo and all at Barnabas Fund once again for their extreme generosity in donating the housing structures to ACERO as well as funding the majority of the project”.

The substantial project is the product of significant work by ACERO and our project partner the Barnabas Fund since the forced exodus of thousands of Assyrians and other Christians from Mosul and the Nineveh Plains.

The specifications of the Village’s 52 housing structures and facilities are as follows:

– Ablution Units: 1 per 4 tents. Each unit has 5 sets of facilities (WC, shower and sink)

– Kitchen: 2 units – each one has large stoves, deep fryers, barbecues, area for food preparation, large American style fridge freezers

– Dining Area – seating 120 people per sitting

– Recreational Area: 90-foot area – TV sets will be provided as well as games and other recreational facilities

– Laundry Rooms: 2 units – these have large washing machines and dryers

– Children’s Play Area: 2 units have been allocated to be used as children’s play areas (crèche) – they will include toys and books for the children of the village

– Agricultural Allotments: have been allocated for each housing structure for tenants to grow their own produce

– Sporting Activities: A large area is available for sporting activities including football and a children’s playground

– Supplies: A large storage unit has been filled with bedding material (spare beds, mattresses, pillows and blankets) and dry food including rice, oil, tea, sugar and sanitary products

– Security: 24 hour security is provided at the Village with manned protective services and the Village being ring-fenced.