Bait Anya Hostel for the sick and marginalised was founded in 1994, when the “Love is Giving” mission formed by a group of young men and women realised their vocation in sympathy with hospital patients. This phrase became their slogan, and under which they would visit patients enduring diseases and disabilities, with the aim to help recover their dignity. The mission expanded to include the sick and marginalized within the poorest areas in Baghdad.
During the first year, members of “Love is Giving” met four women about to be made homeless. This was due to their disability and lack of finances and then the idea became apparent in initiating a free of charge shelter.
On its opening day, the hostel received the four women, providing them with accommodation, food, and health care. By the end of the year, the number of guests grew to 25.
A Christian family living abroad, offered their home in Jadriya, rent free for ten years. During those years, the mission reached 50 guests. It was discovered that elderly women were abandoned by their own families because of their old age, or had lost their carers due to migration or death. With the agreement of the owners of the house, a new section was built on the side of the garden to house them.
The hostel also received calls from elderly men with disabilities and hence, in addition, it was decided to accept urgent male cases.
On 1st May 2000, under the blessing of the diocese of the Catholic Syriac church in Baghdad, the hostel was officially licensed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
In 2011, the mission had to find new residence for the hostel, as the owners needed to sell the property. Thus another property was rented, and saw the celebration of its 11th anniversary, with 62 guests which included both men and women.
Despite reaching its capacity of 50 guests, the hostel received further requests from women displaced by ISIS, which led to emergency extensions to accommodate them. The mission also cares for patients with poor and destitute families in neighbouring areas.
All the in-house services are provided by two consecrated sisters living at the hostel, assisted by a group of young volunteers, in addition to 7 employees. There is no fixed number of volunteers, but they are young people offering their services through several churches in Baghdad.
The hostel depends wholly on local philanthropists, however, many are immigrating and it’s become increasingly difficult to locate funds. Additionally, according to the economic and security situation of the country, great difficulty is encountered in securing supplies of medical and living necessities.
The hostel is in desperate need to secure the following provisions per annum
(all in USD);
Personal needs (clothes, etc.), $18,000.
Medical escorts and medications, $33,000.
Fuel (kerosene for the generators, oil, gas, petrol), $52,000.
Continuous maintenance of water pumps and electrical devices, $20,000. Sanitary materials (cleaning, sterilisation, diapers), $28,000.
Please note that the costs described above fluctuates by the US dollar/Iraqi dinar exchange rates, affected by the political and economic situation.
The hostel is currently in dire need of financial support in order to continue their services.