Sara's efforts in the Ottoman Empire, Armenia, and Greece 1919-1930:
For the next 11 years, Sara heroically helped to rescue and care for thousands of Armenian and Greek orphans from the former Ottoman Empire from 1919 to 1930. She risked her life to do so in besieged areas where vast numbers of children were orphaned due to brutal massacres of entire families.
Sara was stationed in three locations of recorded mass ethnic cleansing during the Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian genocide. Following the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians, as many as 750,000 Greeks, and 300,000 Assyrians, there remained hundreds of thousands of orphaned children who were eventually rescued and relocated by the Near East Relief to Greece where Sara helped to create orphanages. As in recent years, Greece graciously opened its doors to refugees in 1922 and Near East Relief orphanages were built or founded in many parts of Greece and other locations : Syra (Syros), lexandropol, Sidon (Bird's Nest), Aleppo, Erivan, Corfu, Corinth, Athens, Salonika, Kavala, Batoum, Tiflis, Oropos, Marathon, Chalkis, etc.
A massive population exchange between Turkey and Greece would take place in 1923.
Pictures: Orphanage at Syra, Greece, Sara Corning at the Oropos Orphanage and Oropos orphanage, Greece
Resettling traumatized children in the various orphanages would have been an enormous challenge, especially for the children themselves. Sara managed an orphanage at Oropos, Greece and she adopted five girls, providing for their education to enable self-reliance. In her final years of service, Sara was reassigned to the girls' school at Anatolia College in Marsovan (Merzifon), Turkey until it closed in 1930 when NER operations began to shut down. She wrote that she supported a male student at Salonika College, too. Sara would have been a mother figure to many. In a letter to a friend, she wrote, "The hope for the future of all nations is education."
Pictures: Orphans at Christmas with dolls, Sara with baby in Marsovan and Sara with boys at the Zappeion
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