Home / Main Categories  / OTHER Salesian News (not SM specific)  / SYRIA: 3,500 youth supported by Salesian centers

SYRIA: 3,500 youth supported by Salesian centers

Salesian centers in Aleppo, Damascus and Kafroun, Syria

Economic aid to families also provided by Salesians


(MissionNewswire) More than 3,500 youth are being supported by Salesians in Aleppo, Damascus and Kafroun, Syria*. Almost 13 years after the start of the war and 11 months after the earthquake that hit Aleppo, the devaluation of the currency, poverty, unemployment and despair has increased among adults and children.

“In October 2023, we started the new pastoral year and winter activities, and in Aleppo alone we have more than 1,500 children. They participate in oratory, formation and catechesis activities,” explained Mateo Colmenares, a volunteer in Aleppo. “We are also providing economic aid to families in need, including vouchers for solar panels, food and help with reconstruction after the earthquake.”

Syria is undergoing a severe economic devaluation. The Syrian lira has devalued by more than 100% in the last year, salaries are not enough to buy the basics to live and houses do not have electricity.

Colmenares said, “We’re bringing light in times of darkness and difficulty. Salesians never stop supporting young people despite very complicated situations, and together we try to open up new perspectives to reach more and more people.”

However, youth are still facing the realities of war with the conflict in Gaza seen in everyday life. In the early days of the war, those attending the Salesian oratory could see bursts of gunfire streak across the sky toward Gaza.

“Younger children were crying and scared. The older ones, aged 16 to 17, who remember the worst part of the war in Syria, went about their normal lives and didn’t notice anything. When these things happen, we began saying the rosary in the courtyard,” said Colmenares.

Salesian missionaries operate three centers in Kafroun and the particularly high-conflict areas of Aleppo and Damascus. Throughout the ongoing war and struggles in the country, Salesian centers continue to meet the needs of their communities through the distribution of food, economic aid and scholarships to help young people continue with their schooling.

Colmenares added, “So much has been destroyed by the war and the earthquake. Children are still recovering but many see little hope for the future. As we start a new year, Salesians are asking for an end to the violence and for help from all over the world to continue supporting the victims.”



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS) 

ANS Syria – Salesians in the country: hope in the midst of difficulties for the little ones and their families

Salesian MissionsSyria

*Any goods, services or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.