SYRIA: As war reaches 10 years, Salesians remain to serve youth
Over 10 years of civil war Salesian missionaries remain, providing education and support to youth in need
(MissionNewswire) Since the outbreak of civil war began in March 2011, Salesian missionaries have operated three centers in Syria. The centers are located in Kafroun and in the particularly high conflict areas of Aleppo and Damascus. Each of the centers is staffed by three Salesian priests and a deacon.
The war has left a wake of destruction and death. More than 1.5 million people have been wounded and 5.7 million Syrians are refugees. Another 6.7 million people are displaced within the country, according to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Despite ongoing conflict and instability, Salesian missionaries continue their work with youth.
“In Syria, we all cry for a family member or a friend killed by bombs,” said Father Pier Jabloyan, director of the Salesian Center in Aleppo. “However, hope has always been stronger than war, and the culture of peace has transformed the Salesian environments.”
There are many children under the age of 10 who do not know life other than the war. Salesian missionaries are committed to continuing education and nutritional, psychological and economic support to them and their families. Currently, Salesian missionaries in Damascus provide support and education to 1,200 youth. In Aleppo, there are close to 1,000 youth of different Christian backgrounds who have come together in need of services.
To address the new challenges brought about by the pandemic, Salesian missionaries have set up two support programs for those in academic difficulty. One will benefit 200 children and another will support 180 students in their last years of high school and university. Along with school support projects, economic support will be provided to 200 vulnerable families.
Fr. Jabloyan said in a recent statement, “It is important that we remain supporting people in dire need in Syria. Even in the face of the global pandemic, we will remain focused on our mission of helping poor youth and their families.”
Thanks to the economic support of many Salesian organizations, Salesians in Aleppo, Damascus and Kafroun continue to help poor and at-risk youth and their families.
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Salesian Missions – Syria
UNHCR – Syria
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.