The Croatian government is offering the scholarships for the second year. Around 200,000 euros has been set aside to pay for the studies and accommodation of young Christians from India, Pakistan, Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria, Benin, and Ethiopia.
This year, more than 6,500 students applied for the scholarships, Petir said. “It shows that people are really in need, that persecution of Christians is really high.”
“It’s maybe important to stress,” she added, “that we don’t help Christians because they are Christians, we help them because they are the most persecuted religion in the world.”
Aid committee in place
The money from Croatia is the second major donation received to date, Arogundade said. The other one, about $25,000, came from the nonprofit group Humanitarian Interchurch Aid. Local donors also have contributed thousands of dollars, he said.
The money raised so far has helped pay for victims’ funerals and medical care for those injured in the attack, and provided for the immediate educational and material needs of the children of those who were killed, Arogundade said.
A committee of priests, religious sisters, and community members will oversee the distribution of other available funds to meet longer-term needs, he said.
“We want to be able to respond to each person’s case in a way that will stabilize them. We don't just want to be dishing out money or dishing out materials that will not help in the long run,” Arogundade said. “So we are taking our time and responding according to the needs of individuals and according to the plan of the committee that was set up to take care of victims’ families.”
Another expense will be to repair the damage to St. Francis Xavier Church, which remains closed. The project will include a memorial to those who lost their lives in the attack, Arogundade said.
For more information about how to contribute to the fundraising effort, email the diocese at [email protected]