Nasarean Foundation is devoted to aiding Christian families in the Middle East, families persecuted and chased out of their homes by ISIS and other militant Islamic groups. Founded by Father Benedict Kiely in 2014, the Foundation’s work is twofold: 1. It provides advocacy for persecuted Christians by educating and informing audiences about the widespread assault on Christians by militant Islam; 2. it provides financial support to Christians in the Middle East enabling them to stay in their homelands, homelands that are the historical cradle of Christianity.
For several years, Father Benedict was a parish priest leading a comfortable life in Stowe, Vermont. As ISIS rampaged across Iraq and Syria viciously destroying the villages and lives of anyone from a minority religion or anyone who refused to bend to their brutal radical Islamic command, Father felt compelled to act, compelled to step in and do something to help the persecuted. He traveled to Iraq in 2014 and visited the Christian villages in the Ninevah Plains, a region particularly hard hit by ISIS. The Nineveh Plains are north east of Mosul, Iraq and are the heart of what once was Mesopotamian civilization. Nineveh is an area mainly inhabited by non-Muslim minority groups; many of them are Assyrian and Chaldean Christians. Upon visiting these villages, Father found desecrated and vandalized Churches and graveyards and ravaged homes; homes that were not destroyed were commonly rigged with IEDs to ensure a bitter end to returning families. He heard stories of medieval style atrocities from the local leaders and clergy members and from Christian families in refugee camps in Kurdistan. Upon returning to the US, Father resigned from his post in Vermont and decided to dedicate his life to helping and advocating for these Christian families. Thus, Nasrean was born.
While its mandate is the broader Middle East, Nasarean, since inception, has been focused on Iraq. While the fighting has subsided, a new fight to rebuild Christian villages and rejuvenate these villages has only yet begun. Nasarean supports and encourages mini micro-financing to Iraqi Christian families; this makes Nasarean unique as almost no other charities are working on job creation, which is the only way families can remain in their newly reclaimed homelands. Most recently, Nasarean has helped families, who have re-settled in the village of Aradin, in Northern Iraq; Nasarean’s micro finance loans have enabled these families to set up a women’s sewing business, establish a small chicken breeding farm, open an automotive garage, expand a taxi business and launch a new electrical repair shop. While these are small enterprises, these are family businesses and critical to the vitality and the economies of the local villages.
Nasarean is an US based and registered 501-c-3 charitable organization. It held its first major fundraiser in New York City in February 2019; the monies raised that evening were instrumental to launching some of the aforementioned businesses as well as to funding a Christian run local health clinic. The New York event was an opportunity not only to raise money but also to raise awareness, something equally as important as capital. Not enough Christian churches across America and Europe are talking about the plight of their fellow Christians in the larger Middle East; this is something Nasarean is determined to change.
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