Sub-Sahara Africa hosts more than 26% of the world’s refugee population as a result of new conflicts erupting and the ongoing crisis. ACN’s focus is primarily on projects in Burkina Faso and Mozambique, where violent jihadist attacks continue to displace the local population, thereby causing them to become IDPs.
Burkina Faso is a clear example of this? Most of the attacks occur in the north and in the Sahel area. Many parishes do their utmost to help and look after the refugees, such as the Linonghin Parish in the Diocese of Ouagadougou. With the help of ACN, the parish is able to provide food and health facilities for internally displaced families who sought refuge in the parish. ACN also funded several projects in the Diocese of Dori, in the north of the country. Dori is the most affected diocese and had to close several parishes due to the spread of terrorist-related violence in the area. Through the diocese, ACN is actively supporting refugee families of catechists with school fees and health support.
Mozambique has been plagued by jihadist terror since 2017 and many Christians had to leave their homes. ACN continues to support a project in the Diocese of Pemba, which actively provides pastoral care and psychosocial support to refugees in Cabo Delgado. The diocese also provided supplies for the construction of 60 houses built to house the displaced families, and two community centres. In the near future the neighbouring districts of Pemba will also receive support for the psycho-social care of the growing number of displaced people who find refuge there. ACN has donated several vehicles for the missionaries who assist the refugees.
ACN also supports refugees in other African countries: with the help of ACN, the Diocese of Kigoma was able to buy a vehicle for pastoral work in Nduta and Mtendeli Refugee Camps in Tanzania. In Uganda, ACN supports a program for South Sudanese Refugees in Bidibidi Camp in Katikamu. And in the diocese of Durban in South Africa the Congregation of the Holy Spirit is running a Refugee Pastoral Centre where refugees are provided with accommodation, food and pastoral assistance.
Another region where many refugees suffer is the Middle East. Due to the ongoing war in Syria, a large part of the population is internally displaced. Others have left for neighbouring countries, like Lebanon. For this reason, ACN mostly funds projects related to refugees in Lebanon and Syria.
In recent years, Lebanon has accommodated many Syrian refugees (1.5 million). But due to the political and economic crisis, the Lebanese government is unable to support them. The ongoing effects of the pandemic and the destructive explosion in the port of Beirut worsen the situation. This is why most projects in Lebanon address both the local population and the refugees, since they are equally affected by poverty and economic hardship.
With the help of ACN, both refugees and the local population in Lebanon receive assistance through aid vouchers and existence aid in different parts of the country. Syrian refugees are specifically supported with projects related to education and humanitarian assistance in the Diocese of Zahle.
In Syria, ACN supports various projects for IDPs and local Christian families. Projects range from paying rent in Aleppo and Damascus to providing medical assistance in different parts of the country.