By Vatican News staff reporter
"We are their anchor of salvation": that’s the title of a new initiative launched by Aid to the Church in Need, which is entirely dedicated to Syria’s Christian minority.
As the world battles COVID-19, internally displaced persons and the poor are the most vulnerable to the threat of the disease in the country, which is also plagued by high inflation and unemployment, and whose health facilities have been heavily damaged by the long armed conflict.
Much needed support
Earlier this year, the Pontifical Foundation pledged food and health aid to Christian families in Aleppo. It also supported pastoral initiatives in several dioceses, aid to families in Homs for the payment of housing rents, and funding for the work of rehabilitating a monastery dedicated to Our Lady.
According to Sister Annie Dermerjian, a long-time partner of ACN projects in Syria, "The benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need have already given strength and courage to many Christian families living in inhuman conditions. In fact, in Syria, the poor are everywhere."
Last year the charity provided 8,700 homes with electricity in the country; 900 families were supported in paying rent; 3,050 poor people received daily aid; another 9,200 got food parcels; and 6,500 students received scholarships.
The Bishop of Lattakia, Antoine Chbeir, received support from ACN for a four-month health aid plan to ensure assistance to those living in the cities of Lattakia and Tartous, in eastern Syria. Around 108 surgeries, 60 medical treatments, 1,400 health prescriptions and the activity of 5 doctors were made possible.
In Homs, the activity of the "Mustard Seeds" Centre, which follows 90 children and adolescents with severe learning difficulties, was supported by the Pontifical charity.
And in the Al Jdeydeh district of Aleppo, last year, the Cathedral of St. Elijah was finally reopened and reconsecrated, thank to about 400,000 euro in donations from the benefactors of the ACN.
It was an act of solidarity made despite the economic difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.