What do you do when your home—your safe place, that haven that holds your memories, your family—is gone? Or when the home you return to is just a shell of a structure?It happens in Iraq and Syria, families forced out by war and violence. It happens here, too, homes washed away by floodwaters, by hurricane winds, by wildfires.
Buildings gutted, without any of the pieces that make it a home.
How do you begin to remake your home, begin to bring it back to life? When you’re standing on the threshold of a home completely reduced to rubble and ruin? When Hurricane Harvey floods your home with six feet of water and everything has been stripped to the studs? When wildfires have incinerated all but the foundation?
In the face of such devastation, how do you start again? Where do you even begin?
You begin by taking one step.
It can start with windows and doors. With bringing back electricity. Making a building, a house safe again so that families can return, can begin to make a house a home.
In Aleppo, restoring homes is a first step to bringing whole communities back to life. To restoring neighborhoods previously claimed by ISIS.
Every pane of glass, every doorway secured, every kitchen and bathroom refurbished gives one more family what they need to come home, so they can start rebuilding the rest of their life.
The generators we power just down the street are lighting the way back for even more families. Now businesses are starting to return—and with new businesses, even more families come home.
It’s hard to return to an empty neighborhood, but once life is sparked, it draws the community back. Just blocks away, it’s a different story: empty streets, desolate buildings.
But here, what was once rubble is now barber shops, markets, vegetable stands, and tea stalls. Children play in the streets again. Men and women greet each other.
With the start of a remade home, families can dream about more than just survival. They can be safe, together. They can begin to heal. From here, they can take the next steps as they continue to rebuild their home—and their life.
With your help, we’ve already repaired 50 homes in this Aleppo neighborhood. According to local officials, we’re the only ones with permission to work here. In the months ahead, we’ll repair 50 more. Then another 50. And another.