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Although Karagheusian is a secular organization, the Christian message is evident.

“We encourage them to give glory to God for everything,” social worker Janine Tanilian says of the organization’s women’s groups. “Even though they are in a really bad situation, they can thank God because they are alive, their children love them and these days will pass and the sun will shine.”

Lebanon’s refugee crisis has posed a tremendous challenge for the many churches present there. Efforts to care for the refugees abound, but resources are scarce and fatigue impacts even the most generous. To serve the Syrian Armenian population who fled to Lebanon, a committee comprised of members from the Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic and Armenian Evangelical churches was formed to better reach the displaced families. The three churches entrusted the Karagheusian Medico-Social Center to be the coordinator of aid and to provide the needed support; after all, their congregations — for generations — have been receiving medical and social services from the Karagheusian Foundation.

“We have seen lives changed for the better with the direct support of CNEWA and through the collaboration and coordination between the church, our organization and CNEWA. The hopeless have received hope,” says Field Director Mr. Ohanian.

Bishop George Assadourian, who serves with the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate, praised the Karagheusian Center, noting that its “presence and continuity is of great importance to the poor population who are being served,” whether members of the host community or refugees.

“We would encourage their work and recommend all support to the organization to keep doing its good work toward the disadvantaged population,” Bishop George added.

“I want to thank God for the work Howard Karagheusian did and will continue to do,” says the Rev. Raffi Messerlian, pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Nor Marash in Bourj Hammoud.

“I believe that what they did and what they provided was very important and very essential,” he adds, “and I see that the heart of their outreach is keeping the dignity of human beings by trying to provide some of the basic needs necessary for individuals.”

The Rev. Sarkis Sarkissian, chair of the religious committee of the Armenian Apostolic Prelacy in Lebanon, commended the organization. “In the midst of social and economic hardship, this organization was a refuge to all who sought help,” he says. With its medical and social services, the center “has improved the lives of the community members and has brought considerable changes in the lives of so many.”

During the influx of Syrian refugees to Lebanon, “they were the only social organization to lend their helping hand and receive all the refugees equally,” Father Sarkissian added.

“We, as the Armenian prelacy, highly appreciate what the center did for more than seven years for the refugees and also for the host community members. We also thank [CNEWA] for funding most of the projects the center offered to the refugees and host community members.”

Back at the center, the women’s group members also express gratitude; they have found a stable foothold from which to look to the future.

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